Rock ‘n’ Roll Thrived in Underworld of the Missouri Delta

By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Monday, March 6, 2017

During the 1950s, fledgling rock n’ roll music hooked up with rough company along the lower Mississippi River. Pioneer rockers were musicians of controversy—like jazz and blues artists preceding them in the “delta” valley—and they relied on gigs at roadhouses and honky-tonks, often run by gangsters, from St. Louis to New Orleans.

The rock n’ rollers got work, made money with underworld figures while sharing a defiant, bunker mentality. Both parties felt heat of adversaries, and neither backed down.

“Rockabilly” broke out from Memphis in 1955 and the first stars were ridiculed, especially Elvis Presley, condemned nationwide by music reviewers, preachers and politicians, among critics.

But “the beat” was unstoppable from west Tennessee. Rockabilly blew into Arkansas and upriver to Missouri, following Highway 61. Wunderkind Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins won fans and inspired players in flatland locales like Pemiscot County, tucked into Missouri’s southeast corner—where good times reigned even as lawmen cracked down on illicit gambling and alcohol. Police raided several Bootheel taverns and dance halls of the Fifties that nurtured genesis rock and modern country.

Today, piecing together Pemiscot history and legend, a rich story emerges from news texts and personal recollections: the rockabillies and their shady associates in the Missouri delta, 60 years ago.

***

Before rockabilly there were “cowboy songs” and “hillbilly music,” which most reviewers didn’t take to, regardless their proximity to the yodeling and twangy strings. “The ether is full of hillbilly music and other moronic krap that is passed to the dear public as radio programs,” an Arkansas columnist declared in 1940, for The Journal-Advance in Gentry.

Hillbilly bands played radio stations and beer halls coast-to-coast by World War II, including in the Hudson River Valley of New York. Shortly the tunes invaded Manhattan, to chagrin of many. “There are more hillbillies in the New York City metropolitan area than a revenuer, say, could ever find in them thar hills of Tennessee,” cracked Herald Tribune writer M.C. Blackman in 1948. “You must believe this when you consider the sustained and growing popularity of hillbilly programs that fill the urban air day and night.”

“They must have listeners. They do have listeners. I am one,” confessed Blackman. Indeed, the big-city scribe demonstrated learned ear for hillbilly formula. “The recurrent themes of hillbilly music are loneliness, remorse, love lost or never gained, reproach and yearning,” he observed. “And what is there down in the valley, the valley so low? Why, hear than train blow, love, hear that train blow. Hillbillies just love trains.”

Goofball hicks, legit songwriters or whatever, their music pulsed through that famed lowland down center of America, the Mississippi Valley, meshing with blues, jazz and gospel. And it percolated everywhere else.

Rock convergence went warp speed circa 1950, when rhythm cats Fats Domino and Ike Turner hit new sound in the delta, and Bill Haley, frustrated cowboy singer, struck fresh beat on the East Coast. What, who was the father of rock and roll? Argue all day, but appears there were at least three: Fats, Ike, and Haley.

But the king of rock was Presley, fairly by consensus: Pelvis Elvis, who really offered more than swinging hips. This guy was pure stage presence, the Full Monty down to voice, a warbling that finished the melt on waves of females, falling over, already staggered by his looks. At age 19 Elvis cut “That’s All Right Mama” for Sun Records in Memphis, summer 1954. Local radio listeners were hooked, burying stations with requests for Presley.

The musical revolution had its front man, Elvis, a year before the term rock and roll hardly meant anything besides a baby appliance. Elvis and more rockabillies hit the road to claim audience, build market, operating from Memphis and flooding delta spots like Pemsicot County, Mo.

But in Bootheel Missouri, players of a different sort made headlines—gamblers and bootleggers, with capable thugs among them.

***

A new prosecuting attorney took over in Pemiscot County at outset of 1955, declaring “an all-out fight on vice of all kinds.” James A. Vickery was a young, rookie DA who’d grown up locally and graduated law school at the University of Missouri. State police had raided Pemiscot joints for years as local authorities stood by, and Vickery promised change. He immediately ordered five establishments padlocked for illegal gambling and cited the proprietors.

The situation grew hotter on a murder. One of the bar owners in trouble, Hubert Utley, was shot dead by hit men in an ambush. Utley, 46, had a history of violent encounters, such as surviving a shooting that killed a friend. As a young man Utley acted as enforcer for rigged elections and owned a tavern where he busted heads—the business custom across southeast Missouri. After one crazed brawl Utley and his bouncer were co-charged with murder, for the beating and shooting of a customer nicknamed “Tarzan” who succumbed of injuries. The trial resulted in a hung jury, reported The Blytheville Courier News, and the case lapsed.

Utley had roamed among fearsome characters in the area known as “Stateline,” along Highway 61 in southern Pemiscot County. This was border country with Arkansas bounded by big river and drainage canals, tangle and swamp where people could disappear.

The zone included Gobler, Mo., an agricultural crossroads widely known for dual, conflicting attractions: family shopping and forbidden nightlife. By daylight the place was bargain destination for the Gobler Mercantile, a complex of 71,000 square feet offering “everything from safety pins to tractors,” per the popular promo.

But partiers and gamblers ruled Gobler after sundown. A week after Utley’s murder in March, Elvis Presley booked a show for Gobler’s raucous B&B Club, also closed by the county’s injunction, temporarily.

The B&B was back in business by Friday, April 8, 1955, with Elvis onstage for a few hundred revelers making it inside. Outside the roadhouse, many people denied admission stuck around to swig beer and liquor. A package store sold bottles to practically anyone, and sheds offered dice and poker. Vested individuals enjoyed a profitable night, evidently; Elvis collected his cut, a couple hundred bucks or so, and no serious incidents showed up in newspapers.

Presley returned to Gobler for a second show at the B&B, in autumn ’55 as pressure mounted on everyone involved. A shooting in broad daylight roiled locals, a murder near the club over a dice game gone bad. Cops buzzed around on patrol and the usual suspects were jittery, watching their backs.

Elvis was enjoying rising fame, meanwhile, his perks like silly money, Cadillacs, gifting family and friends. But he also brooded, experiencing anxiety. Surely sometimes he longed for  simpler life and solitude, again. Elvis relished that often as a boy, the only child of Vernon and Gladys Presley, regular folks from Tupelo who’d migrated to Memphis in ’48. The private Elvis surfaced the night his first Sun record blew out on Memphis radio, playing repeatedly by request. Deejay Dewey Phillips went wild on-air, making noise, and Elvis slinked away, hiding out in a dark movie theater.

There was no turning back by the second Presley show in Gobler, Mo., Sept. 28, 1955. A press release updated his story:

Since he started his career with the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Presley’s career has come along by leaps and bounds. He has drawn record crowds in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia—as a matter of fact, all through the South.

Elvis is 20… unmarried. His main interests are his cars, a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan in a striking pink and black color, and a 1954 Cadillac convertible. He has acquired one of the biggest collections of unusual and flashy clothes any artist owns, preferring the “cool cat” type of dress rather than Western apparel.

Elvis reportedly lost clothing that second night at Gobler, when waitresses couldn’t penetrate dense crowd inside the B&B. “I knew he was gonna make it big… girls at the club jumped up and started tearing off his shirt,” said J.G. McCuin, musician for the opening band. Around that Gobler date, Presley apparently performed in nearby Cardwell, Mo., at the Rebel Club, according to 706unionavenue.com.

Elvis in the Bootheel that September marked his final acts in small venues of Missouri, among his last anywhere. In October Elvis energized a major stage in St. Louis, appearing with stars of Grand Ole Opry at the Missouri Theatre, a spectacular auditorium seating 4,000.

“When performing Presley is like a steam engine,” a reporter observed. “His legs begin to shake. He jumps. His head snaps up and down. His hair whips the air. He jiggles his leather-covered guitar like a bartender working a cocktail shaker.”

Back in Pemiscot County, the late Hubert Utley’s shuttered dance club was torched by arsonists. “Utley was shot down in a gangland style killing last March,” The Courier News reminded. “His murderers remain at large.” Lawmen vowed to step up their anti-vice campaign; the state assigned a fourth highway patrolman to the district.

Prosecutor James Vickery pledged “to strictly enforce early closings of roadhouses and honky-tonks and close any places where gambling is found.” He promised “extensive effort to curb selling of intoxicants to minors.” More arrests occurred and even bingo and raffles were quashed, snuffing the fundraising for organizations.

In 1958 a local columnist without byline waxed optimistically on vice, characterizing the problem as past-tense:

Over the years several counties in Southeast Missouri have had more or less open gambling, depending on the situation in Jefferson City, [with] prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officers. This was not limited to Pemiscot County, but in those years it may have been flagrant here. Those were the days of the famed “Ark-Mo Stateline,” where a person could “get action” in most anything he wanted. The situation, however, became too competitive, resulting in resort owners blasting away at each other with submachine guns. This finally led the cycle’s swinging the other way to the point there “the lid” was locked and stayed locked for many years.

In 1961 three men from out of state were convicted of murder in the gunning of Utley. The killing was authorized by unnamed delta gamblers, according to the lead hit man, Charles “Rocky” Rothschild. The former delta cop was imprisoned in South Carolina, facing convictions of gangster crime across multiple states.

***

Elvis Presley hired Colonel Tom Parker as his manager in winter 1955-56. RCA purchased his recording rights from Sun Records for an unprecedented $30,000, with Elvis garnering $5,000 and a Cadillac. His first single for RCA, “Heartbreak Hotel,” sold a million copies.

That spring Presley was headliner in New York City, home of RCA. “Wherever he appears, screaming crowds of teenage girls make his entrances and exits a test of strength, and the young rock-n-roll hillbilly, or ‘rockabilly,’ invariably ends up minus a jacket, shirt and tie,” United Press reported.

Presley’s bunker perspective, his feeling besieged, had not abated. Memphis, Arkansas and southeast Missouri—joints like the B&B and racketeers—might’ve seemed quaint at this juncture.

“It’s all happening so fast that some nights I just can’t fall asleep,” Elvis said in New York. “It scares me, you know. It just scares me.”

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor and publisher in Missouri, USA. For more information visit www.fourwallspublishing.com. Email: mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com.

Excerpts III: 1925 Tri-State Tornado, 1949 Baseball Dream of A Patriot

Passages adapted from stories of the book Legend In Missouri by Matt Chaney

Copyright ©2017 by Matthew L. Chaney

Tornado

Excerpt 3: The Tri-State Tornado continues its Missouri path on the afternoon of March 18, 1925

A few minutes before 2 o’clock, residents of Patton, Mo., gaped at sky to their north. Gigantic black and blue clouds rushed eastward, seemingly stacked to heaven itself. The tornado was passing a few miles above Patton. Farther north at the Bollinger County line, the view southward was even more spectacular. A man and his daughter watched curiously, wondering whether this was a tornado—then they saw a large tree swirl through the clouds like a wisp of straw. But no one reported a funnel vortex extending down from the mass.

The tornado crossed Whitewater River and bore down on Conrad School, which sat less than 100 feet up the east slope of the valley. Before teacher Oma Mayfield and the pupils could react, the little frame building was splintered, and everyone was blown and scattered into the hillside. Mayfield and at least 17 children lay injured, some seriously.

The storm topped the ridge and rode a mile through dense timber, cutting trees like blades of grass. At a farm directly ahead, Christina “Grandma” Fellows was tending to baby chicks when she saw the blackness coming. She went back into the house, where her husband, a son and daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren were enjoying each other’s company.

“It’s a storm a comin’ up,” said Grandma, which did not alarm anyone. Everyone continued talking, for whether a rain shower or worse was on the way, Grandma always said, It’s a storm a comin’ up.

There came a sudden roar outside and the two-story farmhouse lurched sideways, jolting against an incline to the east. Then if lifted back up, whirled around, and blew apart. Seven people, from infant to elderly, spiraled through the air with debris smacking against them.

When teenager Ann Fellows came to, she was sitting upright near the crown of the hill. The woodstove had landed nearby, and she felt the heat of smoldering blocks. Above her the barn lay flattened, and a trapped horse nickered in distress. A trail of debris led back to where the house had been. A pair of Model T touring cars had their canopies torn off but were otherwise undisturbed—the only objects around that had not moved or disappeared.

Ann could not stand up; one of her ankles felt like it was broken. Grandpa and Grandma were on their feet, and Uncle Ernest and Aunt Rosie rushed to pick up their baby son: but the 18-month-old, Harley Fellows, was dead from a deep gash through his skull. Ann’s brother, 14-year-old Perry Fellows, also perished in the wreckage.

After the storm passed the Fellows farm, it ripped through Henry Bangert’s property, destroying two barns and a house, and firing dozens of tin roofing sheets into a stand of 75 oaks. The metal wrapped into those trees like aluminum foil, and it would not be removed for 70 years.

Lixville village was hit next as people dove for shelter, including one man who found himself in a pipe under a road. The Lutheran Church slid off its foundation, Loberg’s store was lifted and twisted, and two barns and a blacksmith shop were destroyed. More than a half mile away, the northern span of the giant tornado severely damaged the new concrete home of Judge Louis Lix, leaving strands of straw impaled in the mortar sides.

The funnel remained hidden, covered in the cloudy black fog that continued to roll over the land at speeds approaching 60 mph. Elevation of the terrain had dropped more than 200 feet in the last 10 miles.

At Garner Schoolhouse east of the Lix home, about 20 pupils and a teacher were preparing for a music program when someone screamed to get in middle of the room, away from the windows. In seconds the roof flew upward followed by the woodstove, and then everyone was airborne, spraying across a field outside. Several bodies lay unconscious with head wounds, including the teacher, Sidonia Bangert, and 10-year-old Trula Henry,  who would die a week later.

Less than a mile beyond the school, young farmer Will Statler was running and not looking back, fleeing from the roar he instinctively knew could kill him. Reaching his father’s house, he dove past one of the four stacked-rock supports holding the structure. The din was deafening; dirt, leaves and sticks pelted Statler in the crawl space, but he did not hear or feel the house come apart. Quickly the winds quieted and he was optimistic in emerging from underneath the house. But all he found was the bottom floor stripped clean of walls, furniture, rugs—everything but the kitchen table, which stood in place with plates still set for supper. He shuddered, realizing the house could have easily fallen on him.

The tornado smashed every building on Louis Clements’ farm, where his baby daughter, Irene, was killed while clasped in her mother’s arms. At Schumer Springs, 24-year-old Grant Miller died in a barn that was leveled, marking the fourth death within four miles, including three children, along with Trula Henry, her injuries to prove fatal.

***

In 1925, Biehle was a busy village of 100 in heart of the band of small, picturesque German-American communities stretching from Bollinger County east to the Mississippi River. A key railroad stop, Biehle was in Perry County less than five miles northeast of Lixville, perched on hills overlooking Apple Creek Valley.

At 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, several men conversed in front of the Biehle general store. Local mechanic A.H. Kirn took notice of the unusual cloud formations in the southwestern sky, and remarked, “I believe we are in for a storm.”

The Southeast Missourian newspaper reported:

As [Kirn] spoke an observable change took place in the nature of these clouds. Originally dark, but loose-flung and scattered, they seemed to gather in their garments, growing denser, lower and more black. This process of assimilation continued as the clouds drew nearer to Biehle. Then as they cleared the horizon… the clouds had become one lowering nimbus.

Kirn, realizing tornado, shouted the warning and dashed across the street to scoop up his daughter in front of his garage. The Kirns made it to cover, but down in Apple Creek Valley, farmer Joe Blechle was out in the open.

Blechle had seen the mass rolling over the 100-foot-ridge from Schumer Springs, where it had ravaged the Miller farm. And now the 35-year-old was in a death race, sprinting for his house on a knob hill beside the creek. There came a bright flash of blue lightning, a thunderclap, and tremendous roar. Blechle had less than 30 seconds before the tornado reached him.

The Southeast Missourian continued:

First the twister, with its deadly stride, cleaved a path several hundred years in width over the wooded hilltop. Uprooting beeches, elms and maples, and snapping like twigs the trunks of 14- and 20-inch oaks. True to its course, as though steered by a mariner’s compass, it next descended upon the valley and the prosperous farming estate of August Lappe. A mule, caught in the open, was lifted high into the air only to be hurled with a sickening thud, a lifeless mass, to the earth some hundred yards ahead. Three horses, two pigs, and dozens of chickens met a similar fate. Two of the horses were found literally wrapped around the trunk and limbs of a fallen oak, while the other was hurled amid a denser portion of the wood to where its cumbersome body never could have penetrated in life.

The neat, two-story home of Lappe was cut in half diagonally, the severed portion scattered in bits far from its original site. The barn merely vanished, while a gang-disc plow was twisted almost beyond recognition. Long lines of lathe and split-rail fences were shattered and thrown, in tangled heaps, as the tornado, gathering impetus, advanced to its next attack.

Blechle reached his house and got inside, only to have it picked up and thrown 75 feet into the creek. The farmer lay dead across a tree trunk in the creek; his wife landed hundreds of feet away, in the bottoms across the water, injured seriously but alive.

The tornado swept from the valley into Biehle, strafing the town with flying livestock and timber. Shaving through a short stand of woods, it came upon the Catholic church and school, where priests and children huddled in terror, praying. Debris crashed through the rear wall and roof of the church, and falling rock demolished the altar. The steeple was ripped from atop the front and thrown down beside the school, its tip spearing seven feet into the ground. Incredibly, the school was spared as the storm flew over and past. Up on the roof of the damaged church, just behind where the steeple stood, a thin wooden cross swayed but remained fixed in place.

More properties were destroyed around Biehle, including a Gieringer farm where a woman had to be dragged from the burning wreckage of her home. The tornado rushed forward on its line of travel, staying 21 degrees north of east, a bearing in which the Mississippi River was less than 20 miles away. Every farmstead and community in between would become devastated similarly.

A Patriot

Excerpt 3: Barnstorming big-league players on tour, led by Robin Roberts, future Hall of Famer, are startled by crafty local pitcher Lefty Fisher in an exhibition game at Sikeston, Mo., October 1949

Lloyd B. Fisher was born in 1920 in St. Louis, the first son and second child of Iva Lee and Benjamin Franklin Fisher. Ben Fisher was a railroad foreman, and Iva Lee was the homemaker in charge of a brood of children to grow to five, three girls and two boys.

The Fisher children were active and talented, with a range of interests that included music, art and fashion. And the entire family, including the parents, shared a passion: baseball, particularly the St. Louis Cardinals. When the Fishers moved north from the city’s south side in 1933, it was no coincidence they took a flat within shouting distance of Sportsman’s Park on Grand Avenue. During the 1934 World Series the family saw every game in St. Louis, with the kids watching from “knothole gang” areas outside the ballpark.

Ben’s hobby was updating Cardinal statistics every inning, and he was prone to get angry with radio broadcasters who did not concern themselves with correct records, like announcer Dizzy Dean in the 1940s. Iva Lee also kept a personal scorebook on the Cardinals, but she loved to attend games such as the Ladies Day events that offered her free admission. During World War II, many games had special admission for scrap metal donations, and Ben complained the house was running out of pots and pans; Iva Lee and her sister were using up inventory to see the Cardinals.

Lloyd Fisher grew up with a dream to play for the Cardinals, not unusual. His family’s love for the team aside, most any boy in St. Louis kept the same fantasy. But Lloyd was different as an especially gifted child; baseball was definitely in his future.

By his teen years Lloyd was a legitimate baseball prospect, one of few in a city teeming with amateur players. He could hit, catch, throw and run, and he became a dominant player in the urban area’s competitive youth leagues. The boy had nicknames, including “Slats” and “Skinny,” but “Lefty” stuck. Lloyd’s real identity was baseball, as an elite talent among players.

At 16, Lloyd was selected for the prestigious All-Star Game of the Junior Municipal League. The event was held at Sportsman’s Park, where Lloyd took the field for the first time in front of his beaming family in the stands. It was 1936 and the Cardinals were The Gashouse Gang with Medwick, Martin, the Dean Brothers, and more stars. St. Louis could not get enough of baseball and young Lefty Fisher thrived in the atmosphere.

His goal began to materialize after he graduated from Beaumont High School in 1938. Pro scouts were in constant contact, led by those representing the Cardinals, and Lloyd competed during the summer in the top local circuit for amateurs, the Municipal League. Lefty Fisher was an all-around success: On the pitching mound he compiled an 11-3 record, but he also starred as an outfielder who hit extremely well. The Cardinals offered a contract, and he signed it at age 18.

The following spring Lloyd Fisher was a touted prospect for Union City, Tenn., in the Kitty League. His won-loss record was 8-12, but he pitched strong over 28 games with 121 strikeouts and a 2.96 earned-run-average. In 1940 Fisher returned to Union City with the eye of Cardinals management upon him; general manager Branch Rickey visited the team at the start of the season, taking special interest in the lefthander from St. Louis. There were expectations surfacing elsewhere too, like a newspaper article in Louisville previewing the Kitty League, declaring “Fisher should be one of the league’s outstanding southpaws.”

And he was. He won the opening game for Union City, pitched the league’s first shutout the next week at Paducah, and kept on winning.

Fisher moved up to Class D ball in 1941, going to Fremont in the Ohio State League, and he had his best baseball season ever. He scarcely lost on the pitcher’s mound and excelled as a hitter. “Southpaw pitcher Lloyd Fisher has been playing in the outfield for the Fremont Green Sox since the sale of Bill Ramsey, and he’s clouting well over .300,” noted one report. “In three consecutive games last week, he was 8 for 12 at the plate.” As a pitcher, Fisher won 18 games and established himself as bona fide prospect for the major leagues.

Fisher was a young man of 21, close to reaching his athletic goal, yet conflict churned within him. His priority was shifting away from playing baseball to serving his country. He decided to volunteer for the war effort before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

“Lloyd Fisher, St. Louisan, who pitches minor league ball in the Ohio State League, has joined the Army,” noted The Post-Dispatch. “Fisher reported yesterday at Jefferson Barracks. The lefthander pitched for the Fremont club last season and won 18 games while dropping 3 contests.”

At the Fisher apartment on the north side, the scrapbook on Lloyd had a new section, switching from promise in baseball to one on preparation for war: “Starting a New Chapter in Lloyd’s Life,” his mother wrote bravely in the headline. At Bethany Lutheran Church, the printed program made the announcement with prayer: “Next Tuesday, another of our boys is answering the call of the country, Lloyd Fisher. Our prayers follow him and all our boys. Oh, Heavenly Father, protect them, wherever they are.”

***

Lloyd Fisher survived World War II’s European theater, but not unscathed. He took part took in some of the war’s most intense ground-fighting, serving with valor as the Allies pushed the Nazis out of France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, then back into Germany, where they surrendered. For almost a year, Fisher’s division fought and drove the Germans 1,400 miles, and he was wounded twice.

He came home to a wife and two small children, an older man with body banged up a bit. Once, under heavy fire, he had caught shrapnel in a leg. Then a bomb explosion in a log bunker wrenched his back, severely. Fisher was a decorated soldier but he quietly stashed away the medals. The 26-year-old’s patriotic duty was behind him, and he wanted to return to baseball, the dream that remained.

But so did a multitude of others like him. The war’s end released a torrent of American workers, and pro baseball was overrun with athletes. Jobs were at a premium, but Browns executive Bill DeWitt signed Fisher to a minor league contract.

He pitched and played outfield at Springfield, Ill., but presumably had health problems. He did not get many at-bats and he pitched in only 15 games. His hitting average was a poor .208, and while he logged a 4-1 mark on the mound, his ERA was high, 4.83.

Branch Rickey was impressed enough, however, and signed Fisher to a 1947 contract for Montreal. Lloyd went to spring training with the Dodgers in Florida and witnessed the furor surrounding Jackie Robinson, who would break the color barrier in baseball. But problems arose in Montreal; the war wounds must have affected Fisher, and he was released.

Over 40 years later, his widow, Louise, knew few details. “I’m not a very good one to talk about what happened,” she confessed. “I can’t tell you the straight of it. He went to Montreal, but he didn’t stay there long.”

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor and publisher in Missouri, USA. For more information visit www.fourwallspublishing.com. Email: mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com.

Excerpts II: 1925 Tri-State Tornado, 1949 Baseball Dream of A Patriot

Passages adapted from stories of the book Legend In Missouri by Matt Chaney

Copyright ©2017 by Matthew L. Chaney

Tornado

Excerpt 2: The Tri-State Tornado continues its path on the afternoon of March 18, 1925

Averaging about 55 mph, the tornado flew on a beeline into Iron County, Missouri, showing no deference for the rugged Ozarks topography, whether peak or plain. Its width hugging the ground was a quarter- to a half-mile and destined to expand. Any tree or wooden structure in the storm’s path was subject to destruction; any living being was in mortal danger.

In the twin mining towns of Annapolis and Leadanna, 700 citizens did not know the largest breed of tornado was on its approach.

Lunchtime had just ended. At the school, more than 200 students were back at their desks; downtown, people were back at work. Darkening skies had thundered and rained during lunch, so a storm was expected. But when huge hailstones hit a few minutes past 1 o’clock, people took real notice. Adults gazed anxiously to the southwest, up the valley heading out of town. Schoolchildren fretted when light outside dimmed rapidly, turning their classrooms dark.

Still, there was no funnel cloud visible from town, just a thick, dark fog rolling over the hills—“like a huge column of very black coal smoke,” described one witness—covering everything before it. Many people began dashing for cover, while some lingered a moment or two longer before the spectacle. Then a roar like multiple freight trains burst through the valley, and winds 200 to 300 mph blasted Annapolis.

In a rare benevolent act, the tornado damaged but did not destroy the two-story brick schoolhouse, sparing the children inside. At a house nearby, a terrified housewife clutched her small son, unable to move because plunging air pressure had sucked the front door shut on her dress. That house was left standing too. But save for a handful of other structures, Annapolis was leveled in seconds. All three churches and most of the business district were destroyed. Loaded railroad cars were thrown off tracks and dumped; automobiles were lifted and hurled.

On street after street, houses blew apart around cowering victims. Adults were swept up by wind and launched, landing with injurious thuds, while the small bodies of babies offered no resistance whatsoever against the force. One infant was carried hundreds of yards before being laid down unharmed, but another was seriously injured in a long flight.

The air was full of debris: glass, splinters, metal, bricks, timbers, even chunks of buildings. A young teamster, Raymond Stewart, was struck and killed instantly. Nearby, an airborne wooden beam stabbed through two brick walls.

Annapolis, sitting on a hillside sloping south and west, had been swallowed in the storm’s path. On the ridge top above town, tombstones in the cemetery scraped a pile of trees and wreckage from the tornado’s gut.

The next valley beyond—also in line for a direct hit—was site of the lead mine and Leadanna, a community of mining families in about 30 houses and tents.

The home of Osro and Nell Kelley sat on a west slope in the Leadanna valley. Osro had been predicting “a twister was coming,” and he and his wife each held one of their two small daughters. A hailstone crashed through the dining room window, and when Nell looked out she saw the garage flattened atop their new Chevrolet car. Instantly the house itself was picked up and thrown, launching the family backward. Osro flew against a tree stump near a creek, striking his head and killing him; Nell landed unconscious, covered in debris and nearly dead from injuries through her shattered body. The winds had yanked the little girls from their parents’ arms, 4-year-old Lucille and 2-year-old Wilma. But they landed clasped together in the creek, bruised and cut but not injured seriously. Lucille held her baby sister’s head out of the water until help arrived.

Every other house in Leadanna was blown down, and the mine was wrecked at surface level, ruining the crusher mill and other heavy works. The tipple tower above the shaft was mangled, ruining the cage hoist and cutting off electrical power. Seventy-five miners stranded 450 feet underground would have to climb up a ladder to reach the surface.

The terror had lasted barely a minute before the storm screamed off at great speed on a virtual straight line northeast—21 degrees north of east, the same general bearing it had flown from the start.

Within minutes, the sun was shining over the sudden chaos of Annapolis and Leadanna. This storm left its devastating signature with two communities flattened in a straight track. The ground was strewn with wreckage: boards, bricks, broken glass, twisted automobiles, bolts of store cloth, clothes and household goods. One home stood oddly intact amidst the ruins, but fire broke out nearby and flames spread unchecked to engulf the house and force out the elderly occupants.

Bleeding, dazed survivors roamed the town, some cradling maimed children. Screams shot from under piles of rubble, where rescuers dug urgently to reach the trapped victims. Two lives were lost, Stewart and Osro Kelley, and more than 100 were injured. Seven hundred people were left homeless, virtually the entire local population.

About 10 miles northeast of Annapolis-Leadanna, the storm crossed into Madison County to demolish rural homes, farms, orchards and timber. It plunged into the deep St. Francis River Valley then mowed back out with no change in course. Two country schools were destroyed near Fredericktown, but both were unoccupied. Missing Fredericktown, the tornado struck near Cornwall community, hurling three men. They landed without serious injuries, however, which reflected the miraculous outcome for the area. Properties lay wrecked along a 25-mile path through Madison County, but no one was hurt beyond scrapes and bruises.

The storm had traveled 50 miles in under 60 minutes of life and expanded to three-quarters of a mile wide, dwarfing specifications of the average tornado. Already a ferocious freak of its kind, the storm was only growing in intensity. Shooting past a 1,300-foot mount above Marquand, it swooped down off the eastern Ozarks Plateau toward the Mississippi River Valley. With all telephone and telegraph communications destroyed in affected areas, no warnings could be forwarded ahead.

Next in line was Bollinger County, where the tornado began its penchant for killing children.

A Patriot

Excerpt 2: A local baseball pitcher shocks big-league stars on their exhibition tour, October 1949

The bus with barnstorming major-league baseball players rolled into Sikeston, a bustling agriculture center of 11,600 in “Swampeast” Missouri. People on the streets looked up and some waved, those expecting the famed athletes.

At VFW Memorial Stadium on the east side of town, grids of lights burned against the evening dusk, visible for some distance across the flat farmlands. Baseball fans were still on their way, but a crowd of 1,000 already packed grandstands as the bus for Harry Walker’s All-Stars wheeled onto the gravel parking lot. Spectators craned their necks to see the door swing open and the big leaguers step out wearing uniforms emblazoned Phillies, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs and Giants.

The fans cheered loudly. Big Ted Kluszewski marched with his biceps bared, and Hank Sauer wrapped one huge hand around three bat handles. Harry “The Hat” Walker grinned and waved, as did his former St. Louis teammate Terry Moore, both local favorites.  The 6-1, 195-pound Robin Roberts had a look of intensity. These visitors were national heroes of newspapers, newsreels, radio, and the new broadcast medium, television, preparing for live baseball. Folks were delighted.

The Stars’ opponent, the Holcomb Cardinals, were the Missouri semipro champions. The Holcomb players stole glances at the big leaguers on parade, and some turned completely to watch. A few were not awestruck, especially pitcher Lloyd “Lefty” Fisher and Clyde Martin, both former minor leaguers who relished the chance to compete with players recognized among the best in the game.

Holcomb was a tiny Bootheel town in the delta south of Sikeston. The baseball team was bankrolled by wealthy cotton planters who enticed standout players all over the region, from Cape Girardeau south to Arkansas. The exhibition with Walker’s Stars was played at Sikeston because of the accommodations for a large paying crowd.

The confident big leaguers warmed up quickly and Walker signaled their readiness to play. An umpire in his dark bulk of protective gear strode stiffly to home plate, stooping over like Frankenstein to brush it clean. The infield had been dragged and raked, smoothing dirt from clods to flake, and white chalk lines gleamed under the lights.

In the shadows along the leftfield line, Roberts began loosening his arm to pitch, pausing just a moment to watch the opposing hurler for Holcomb, Lefty Fisher, trot in from rightfield. Some of the major-league hitters watched too, from the visitors dugout, but others paid no attention.

Fisher was a handsome athlete, 6-1 and 185 pounds. He reached the pitcher’s mound in smooth gait, then began toe-digging the rubber with a cleated shoe. Satisfied with the foothold, he looked in at the catcher, wound up and fired a warm-up pitch. The fluid delivery sent the ball as a dart over home plate, popping the airy catcher’s mitt.

The stands held many fans who followed Fisher, and they clapped and yelled encouragement. Fisher was among the top semipros in Missouri, and he used to pitch for AAA-level Montreal in the Dodgers organization; if any local pitcher could compete with the major leaguers, he was the one.

The game began and Fisher did not disappoint the locals. He gave up hits to the Stars but remained composed, pitching around threats to keep them scoreless, which made the game interesting. Otherwise it was unfolding as expected with Holcomb batters flailing hopelessly at Roberts’ pitches; the sensational young Phillies hurler felt good, despite appearing in his 20th exhibition game over 10 days across multiple states.

Holcomb’s Charley Hart had batted .580 during the semipro season and starred at the state tournament in Jefferson City. But Roberts overwhelmed him, sending 90 mph fastballs with “action” that Hart struggled to merely foul off. Unleashing one pitch wild, Roberts yelled “Watch out!” barely in time for Hart to duck it. With two strikes, Hart whiffed at a hard slider. Back in the dugout, he placed his bat in the rack as teammates asked about facing the Philadelphia ace. “It’s like trying to hit a rifle bullet,” Hart replied.

The major leaguers, meanwhile, continued having problems with Fisher. The top of their batting order came back up in the third inning, but Lefty was now compiling his mental “book” on every hitter, finding weaknesses to exploit. His fastball was topping 80 mph with lots of movement, and he mixed-in off-speed pitches and curves. Walker’s Stars could not get a base-runner home, and the score remained 0-0 at a time when they usually were building a comfortable lead.

With two outs in the Holcomb third, leadoff man Martin stroked a liner to the fence in left center, a double. Roberts bore down to retire the next batter on strikes, stranding Martin, but the pitcher felt peeved returning to the dugout. He strode up and snatched a towel, wiping dirty sweat from his face, then gazed down the bench at his teammates. No one looked back, including player-manager Walker, who would not consider inserting himself on the mound yet. Roberts would not have allowed that, anyway; ever the competitor, he wanted to put away this upstart opponent himself, backwoods team or not.

The fans sensed something special occurring. Semipros in southeast Missouri had a long tradition of hosting barnstorming big leaguers, including great pitchers like Dizzy Dean. But no one in the stands could recall a local team ever winning such an exhibition. They watched Fisher stymie the Stars—including Kluszewski, the cleanup hitter who struck out to start the fourth—and became more vocal in supporting Holcomb.

The crowd roared and hooted as Big Klu trudged back to the dugout, muttering and kicking dust. Roberts, both impressed and confounded by Fisher, motioned to a local through the dugout screen. Nodding toward Lefty, he asked, “Who the heck is this guy?”

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor and publisher in Missouri, USA. For more information visit www.fourwallspublishing.com. Email: mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com.

Excerpts: 1925 Tri-State Tornado, 1949 Baseball Dream of A Patriot

Passages adapted from stories of the book Legend In Missouri by Matt Chaney

Copyright ©2017 by Matthew L. Chaney

Tornado

“I could just see a big black cloud and it was rollin’. It was really rollin’. And it seemed to be right on the ground.”

Cecil Hackworth

Sam Flowers could not have known the peril that lay ahead when he left Ellington, Missouri, during the noon hour on March 18, 1925, and began the familiar walk to his farm five miles northeast of town.

Flowers did know he was probably walking into a storm. Heavy, dark clouds swept across the Reynolds County sky from the southwest, fast as any train could travel. At Ellington, a remote town in the Ozark Highlands, the clouds appeared to fly low enough to touch trees on the ridge tops.

But Flowers was a hearty middle-aged man who worked a hard-scrabble homestead. He had made this trip hundreds of times before, in wagons, automobiles, and on foot. And he had made it day and night, year-round, through every kind of weather the volatile skies of southern Missouri could bring.

Or so he must have thought. But the gathering storm was no ordinary weather event. It would become catastrophic.

Flowers walked the gravel highway, Route 21, through woods toward the tiny county seat of Centerville. Black clouds rushed overhead, massive and just above the treetops, it seemed. Winds snapped tree limbs back and forth, and rain began to pelt the road. He moved over to the rim of the west ditch, where the woods broke the big drops somewhat, but footing was tricky with the red clay turning wet and slippery around the stones.

A Model T rattled by, headed south, with top down and the driver soaking wet. Flowers might have considered turning back but he pressed on, still not overly concerned about a rainstorm. He stayed alert for old, heavy timbers that might crash down, and he watched for rocky banks to shield him if the storm worsened. He figured he would be all right in getting home to his wife and children.

In these minutes, a massive storm boiling 50,000 feet in the sky topped a 1,500-foot peak near the Current River and, on the downslope, hit ground along Logan Creek west of Ellington, heading northeast.

Three miles north of Ellington, Flowers came down a hill into Dry Valley. The rain was a torrent, blue lightning bolts exploded all around, and winds came in powerful gusts that almost swept him from his feet. The road crooked northeast, and hundreds of yards ahead lay the path up and over a short ridge into Spring Valley, leading to Flowers’ place near the village of Redford. But Spring Valley seemed a million miles away. Flowers could hardly see. The rain was blinding, and the valley had been enshrouded in a huge shadow, dark as night. Flowers had to look down with lightning flashes to see he was still on the road.

Suddenly, hailstones the size of small potatoes beat from above, and Flowers panicked. Too late, no shelter could save him. An ungodly rumble, like some flying earthquake, rushed up from behind as incredible winds sheared through the valley, tossing large trees. Flowers felt uttermost terror—then he was struck in back of the head.

What would become the deadliest land storm in American history, The Tri-State Tornado, had claimed its first human life: Sam Flowers.

***

A Patriot

“Lefty wasn’t your regular cornfield pitcher.”

Melvin Williams

The research on a local legend began with a death of note in southeast Missouri—Lloyd B. Fisher of the Stoddard County community of Puxico. Folks were remembering Mr. Fisher in the multiple roles he lived: as a loving family patriarch, a war veteran, teacher, farmer, mail-carrier and athlete. Many people had known Lloyd “Lefty” Fisher, the baseball pitcher of exceptional talent, and the effect his service as an infantryman had on that.

It was the summer of 1989, baseball season, proper time to imagine Lefty Fisher on the pitching mound. And, invariably, a storyteller would recall a special exhibition game from decades ago: the night Lefty matched the great Robin Roberts, his mound opponent, in hurling a shutout.

***

On a clear October evening in 1949, a silver bus cruised north through the sprawling flatlands of the Missouri Bootheel. The charter’s roomy interior was quiet. Most of the riders, major league baseball players on a barnstorming tour, were napping, their heavy uniforms soiled from an afternoon exhibition in Arkansas.

One strapping young athlete, Robin Roberts, sat gazing out a window. The 23-year-old enjoyed the scenes of harvest in the great delta. Mechanical cotton-pickers were just starting to chew through the wide fields of white bolls clinging to brown stalks. But the cornfields really commanded his attention, the rows of stiff yellow stalks falling to the cumbersome combines. That reminded Roberts of home in central Illinois, Springfield, where the capital city limits ended as the cornfields and hog farms began.

Roberts only recently had completed his first full major league season in Philadelphia. Then he and a dozen other players met in Illinois to board the bus for the barnstorming tour, which would conclude that night in southeast Missouri. The young man was ready to go home.

Sikeston was the final stop in 20 games for “Harry Walker’s All-Stars.” Their travel accommodations were much improved over the early days of exhibition tours, when players often slept in barns, or “barn-stormed,” but the grind of play was just as grueling. Now in their 10th day across three states, Walker’s Stars had played two games daily in different communities. The big leaguers dominated their rural opponents, of course, but 18 innings a day for the entire trip had worn them down, and injured some.

They did it for money: $1,000 apiece motivated these pros to barnstorm. Each man received $50 a game on the tour, an excellent supplement for a major league salary in 1949. Roberts, for example, had been paid $9,000 while winning 15 games that year for the Phillies. The barnstorming tour made it an even $10,000 for Roberts from baseball that year, and he had a winter job lined up selling menswear.

Walker’s Stars had no idea what team they would face in Sikeston. They did not know the pitcher they would face, and they did not care.

Roberts would be on the mound, and the team’s player-manager and organizer was Harry “The Hat” Walker, who led the National League in hitting two years before with a .363 average. Walker was gaining experience for his future as a major league manager and coach.

The Stars lineup would intimidate some pro pitchers, much less one from the backwoods. The names included Cincinnati power hitter Ted Kluszewski, large, agile athlete at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. The former football player for Indiana University played first base for the Reds, and “Big Klu” was already known for biceps bulging from his trademark sleeveless jersey. Kluszewski was bound for stardom in the big leagues, like his buddy on the barnstorming trip, Hank Sauer, who had hit 31 home runs for the Cubs. Sauer was a big outfielder who in a few years would be named the National League MVP.

Besides Roberts, there were two other pitchers on the trip, veteran Kirby Higbe of the Giants and young Herm Wehmeier of the Reds. The pitchers normally split the games equally, or three innings, apiece, and Walker helped out by taking the mound to finish easy victories. But as the bus approached Sikeston, Walker sat down next to Roberts.

“Higbe and Wehmeier both say their arms are shot,” Walker told Roberts. “You pitch the first three innings or so tonight, then after we get way ahead, I’ll relieve you. We’ll win and then we’ll go home.”

“Sure thing, Skip,” Roberts replied.

***

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor and publisher in Missouri, USA. For more information visit www.fourwallspublishing.comEmail: mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com.

Missouri Boasts Its Place in Rock ‘n’ Roll History

By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Thursday, February 16, 2017

Classical piano teacher Louise Mercer was worried in Memphis. Musical forces were afoot in the Mississippi River Valley and progressing, but not for this instructor’s preference. It was 1948, and Mercer saw nothing positive for her concerto affection within the region’s folk music, jazz and blues. And hillbilly music, so-called, appalled her.

Mercer fought back, or brought Bach back to the South, according to The Associated Press, by organizing concert piano competitions for deprived youths. “The nation’s greatest musical talent comes from the South,” she said. “We have the romantic and cultural background, although we haven’t the opportunities for study that are offered in other sections of the country.”

The piano teacher was right on, mostly. Southern musical talent stood boundless along the river, the great “delta” landscape of beauty and struggle, spawning creativity from Cape Girardeau to New Orleans. And Mercer apparently detected musical revolution at hand—it just wouldn’t happen for her classics.

Memphis would mother the uprising, blending music from every direction into what would become known as rock and roll. The components were in place by 1948, including a teenager of destiny, Elvis Presley, having relocated to Memphis with his parents from Mississippi.

***

The hundred rural counties of Missouri today, as always, generally maintain allegiance to the state’s three cities—St.  Louis, Kansas City and Springfield—for extended shopping, entertainment, medical services and more. But two counties are unique, Pemiscot and Dunklin, which stand out together on a Missouri map for essentially comprising that Bootheel appendage of the southeast corner.

As far as an adopted city for people of Pemiscot and Dunklin counties, the roads lead to and from Memphis, Tenn., less than two hours away by Interstate 55. And maybe that’s the best explanation why the Pemiscot-Dunklin area—a thousand square miles of flat delta ground, largely farm fields—stands tall in musical heritage, especially the evolution of rock and roll.

Most “rockabilly” stars of the 1950s staged shows around here, and many local musicians made a good living, with some cutting records. I recently visited Pemiscot-Dunklin as a writer in search of history. There were legendary spots to see, with an old sharecropper crossroads topping my list: Gobler. “There ain’t nothing there now,” a friend remarked at Hayti, where I exited the interstate.

What he meant relied on a pretext: There used to be something at Gobler, something quite special, the notorious B&B Club, rockabilly showplace for Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, among players.

The B&B was an old wooden roadhouse serving watery 3.2 beer, reputed for gambling and fighting. A liquor store next door sold bottles for carry-in. The B&B could seat a few hundred patrons, and Gobler population was 116 in the 1950s. But on a big music night a thousand young people might show up, ready to party, driving from multiple states.

Jimmy Haggett, a radio deejay, musician and promoter, keyed success for the B&B. His Memphis connections included producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records, who stabled rising stars like Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. Haggett, a minor recording artist for Sun, was often instrumental in booking big names for shows across Pemiscot and Dunklin counties, elsewhere in southeast Missouri. And he promoted events on-air and in newspapers.

“Jimmy Haggett, he had an afternoon radio show, and he would advertise the B&B,” recalls Al Jordan, a Hayti musician who toured with rockabilly and country legends. “Jimmy would say, ‘Weelll, we’re gonna have a big dance Friday night at the B&B Club at Gobler, and we’re gonna feature the blond bombshell from Memphis, Tennessee—Elvis Presley.’ ”

Gobler is some 10 miles across the fields southwest from Hayti, sitting smack on the borderline between Pemiscot and Dunklin counties. True, Gobler doesn’t show much these days: a trucking company, a tiny post office, a hunting outfitters store near the old B&B site, and a few dozen homes ranging from clapboard to neat brick. There’s no booze for sale, no gas, just canned soda from a machine on someone’s porch.

But there never could’ve been much to see around here, in literal sense. This is flat country, where the horizon begins at top of a tree or fence line. Crop fields stretch out of sight beyond the Gobler structures; in summer the corn plants, beans and cotton are seemingly endless.

I considered my own boyhood in the delta decades ago, and occasional despair. In daylight I might spy a jet airliner streaming overhead at 30,000 feet, flying on to exotic locales, carrying exciting people, and I’d feel small, isolated in this world.

But moonlight turned the delta dreamy in blue hue. Barren fields transformed into calm, glowing sea. Scattered farmsteads cast imaginary boat lights. The night sky was enormous but inviting, intimate, stars glistening like diamonds within a child’s reach. Anything seemed possible in those moments.

There’s an inspiration about this region, rather inexplicable, that fosters individual expression. Among youths, I see that manifest typically in regional sport, tremendous athleticism, but delta mojo also motivates art. Southeast Missouri first stirred my creative soul in the 1960s, long after piano teacher Louise Mercer knew the dynamic among Memphis kids, post-World War II.

Passing through Gobler last month, I thought of an observation by writer John Pyle, who reviewed one of my Missouri books. “We live our lives in a place, and sometimes it’s just place that’s important,” he wrote.

***

During the mid-1950s, Al Jordan’s brother-in-law owned a rockin’ roadhouse in southeast Missouri, Smitzer’s Club east of Malden, down in the bottoms along Highway 62. Al was around 10 years old when his father started toting him along to Smitzer’s on Sundays, for live music. The 3.2 beer flowed while little Al enjoyed bottles of soda, plopping himself at the stage to watch history in the making.

“Back then Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty and Narvel Felts all used to play there,” Jordan says of recording artists at their outset. “They’d be up there playing that rockabilly, and I’d drink a Dr Pepper. I’d think, Boy, I’d like to do that someday.”

Jordan was 14 when he visited a friend’s house in Gideon, his hometown where New Madrid County edges down into the Bootheel by latitude. Another youth brought his guitar for a jam session. “I’d never sat down at a set of drums before in my life,” Jordan remembers. “They had a little set of drums, and this guy played guitar. He was doing a song called ‘Walk, Don’t Run,’ a Ventures song. I accidentally ended up sitting down at the drums, and just started keeping the beat. And it just came natural for me, God-given.”

Like most Bootheel boys, Jordan had one option for paying work, picking cotton. The job was back-breaking, knee-tenderizing, finger-slicing, and hot as hell in delta sun and humidity. Meanwhile Jordan kept at the drums, practicing by avocation until a local bandleader hired him for a teen dance at Puxico, Mo.

Jordan received eight dollars for the evening gig, astounding him. In the cotton field he had to bag almost 300 pounds of fluffy bolls to earn eight bucks, more than a day’s work except for champion pickers. “Next morning my mom woke me up. She said it’s time to go to the field. I said, ‘Nope, I ain’t going to the cotton field no more. I’ve found an easier way to make a living.’ ”

It was 1959, and kid Jordan’s drumming paid off. By age 16 he’d played in fifty clubs between Memphis and St. Louis, accompanying luminaries on stage such as role model Twitty and Charlie Rich. “Most of the places were honky-tonks,” Jordan recalls, who saw it all, as the saying goes.

“We’d be in an old place playin’, and everything would be lovely, and then all at once you’d hear beer bottles crashing and tables turning over. I’d just duck down behind my drums and let ’em get with it. But I played for years and never had a problem. Most of the time they never bothered the band guys, you know. And the old stories you hear about the bandstands with chicken wire across the front—I played a couple places like that, to keep us from gettin’ hit by flying beer bottles.

“The music was rockabilly—that was the term. What they did, they took country music and put a jazzed-up beat to it. Actually, Bill Haley and the Comets [in Pennsylvania], he was like the father of rockabilly, and rock n’ roll. But then Elvis came along and they christened him as ‘The King’ of rock n’ roll.”

Elvis certainly energized youths of the delta; their music production spiked. “Elvis kicked everybody off, you might say. He jump-started everybody. They thought, My God, if Elvis Presley can do it, I can too,” Jordan says, chuckling. “But—they failed to realize, Elvis had the looks, Elvis was something new, and Elvis had Colonel Tom Parker to promote him.”

Elvis appeared twice at the B&B in Gobler during 1955, on April 8 and Sept. 28. At the latter date the village was in uproar over a murder at a dice game outside the club. Elvis, his career soaring, had outgrown venues like the B&B. Colonel Parker made sure of that.

Gerald Burke, an owner of the B&B, later told Jordan he paid Elvis $300 after the September show. Soon Elvis signed with RCA Records and released “Heartbreak Hotel,” smash hit. Burke said he checked again on booking Elvis, and the new price was $3,000.

“Needless to say, the B&B didn’t have Elvis anymore,” Jordan says.

***

Elvis Presley died in 1977 at age 42, reduced to a caricature for crass commercialization and his weight problem. Twenty years later, Pennsylvania writer Cathleen Miller personally reflected on the icon in her piece for The Washington Post:

“When I was in high school, I went to see the fat, bejeweled singer in concert at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, and sat in awe—not of the man, but of the crowd’s reaction. He sang the same old songs I’d listened to a million times on the jukebox in my grandma’s diner—but with the slightest swivel of those infamous hips, the women in the audience would go insane. The Pelvis, it seemed, was taunting them: a little swivel here, then reverse, then stop dead in the middle and wait for the screams.”

Miller was native of Kennett, Mo., the Dunklin County seat. She grew up only a few miles by blacktop from Gobler, years after its Elvis heyday but hearing plenty. Miller recalled “everybody had stories about Elvis—and not the kind of stories that would make you think he was anything special.”

“When my mom and dad were dating in the ’50s they used to go see him play at the B&B Club, a honky-tonk in nearby Gobler that was the rowdiest place around for white people. My uncle best described it by saying, ‘If they didn’t have five fights on a Friday night, they didn’t have a crowd.’ The B&B Club was prestigiously located in the middle of a cotton field… My best friend’s dad said he went there to see Elvis once and after the show handed him $50 to come back out and sing his favorite song. He said the young King took the money but left hurriedly through the back door.

“So we didn’t think much of Elvis.”

Miller passed through Memphis with her husband in the 1990s, intent on purchasing goofy trinkets for an Elvis theme party in California. Her husband planned his costume as Singing Elvis Lamp. “But while visiting Graceland and the haunts of my childhood, I gradually realized that I had taken for granted Elvis’s contributions to American music,” she wrote. “On this trip, I discovered the ‘real’ Elvis.

“When my husband and I drove into Memphis on a steamy summer afternoon, boarded-up storefronts were much in evidence on the west side of the city, and families sat out on the front stoops of run-down tenements, fanning themselves in the heat. Still, the streets were clean, and the parkways exploded with azaleas. As we headed east toward Overton Park, the sights began to look like the Memphis I remembered: large Southern homes separated from the street by expanses of shady lawns, magnolias, moss-covered oaks and willow trees. The contrast had intensified during 20 years—or maybe 20 years had changed the way I looked at things.”

Gaudiness surely met the couple at Graceland, home of late Elvis, but a 1960 film of the young man captivated Miller. “He was so young and handsome and fresh. Joking with the reporters, smiling that gorgeous smile, wearing no visible jewelry,” she noted. “He hinted that he had met someone special in Germany [during military service], but no, he couldn’t call her his girlfriend.

“In the museum, we learned that Elvis had been awarded more gold and platinum records than anyone on the planet. We watched a film about his life, and when he sang ‘Blue Christmas’ I remembered listening to the same song on the radio as a child, wondering why he sounded so sad when it was Christmas time. The music had reminded me of the songs we sang in Sunday school; most of them were sad also.

“Sadly, I realized that the Elvis I had known all these years was the ‘Old Elvis,’ the King of Kitsch in jeweled jumpsuits. The real Elvis was a simple Southern boy who, through his music, had given a voice to the restless, pent-up youth of the ’50s. He had taken gospel, blues and country and fused them into a unique style—a style that would revolutionize the music industry.”

“And it all happened because of this place. Memphis,” saluted Miller. “Sometimes we have to leave home to see things for what they really are.”

We live in a place, often all that matters. We make do, and big things can happen when we strive, even from a lonely crossroads and cotton fields. In the great American delta, folks understand.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor and publisher in Missouri, USA. For more information visit www.fourwallspublishing.com. Email: mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com.

1967: AMA Touts Head-Up Tackling, Avoids Judging Youth Football

By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fifty years ago, officials of the American Medical Association publicly endorsed “head-up” chest tackling for football—or longtime, qualified quackery of coaches, doctors and trainers—while avoiding a responsible stance in the protest over youth players then led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, among a wave of concerned physicians. The medical football follies of 1967 and the period still reflect how leaders of America’s foremost medical associations, including editors of trusted publications like Journal of the American Medical Association, sidestep the blatant violation of Hippocratic ethos and assumption-of-risk doctrine that is juvenile collision football in this country. Currently, the billion-dollar question for headliner “concussion” lawsuits remains: When did football officials understand the risk of traumatic brain disease in their sport and did they properly inform players and families? But the relevant football question confronting most Americans, today and since the 1880s, remains: Should juveniles be banned from playing the tackle game? Historic public information sheds light. Below is an unprecedented collection of medical remarks and opinion, including essential AMA proclamations and JAMA content, regarding tackle football from 1907 through the establishment of enforceable “anti-butting” policy and rules in 1976. Quadriplegic former schoolboy player Jim Wallgren concludes, in 1986, symbolizing legal-ethical dilemma. Then and still.

The historical texts and notes on football issues previously posted here in timeline were publicly available only for a term. The collections are now in reserve by the researcher for future use. The following remain posted:

Chaney, M. (2016, Dec. 21). ‘Safe Football Failed in 1880s, Talking Points Lived On. ChaneysBlog.com

Chaney, M. (2015, July 28). The 1890s: Brain risks confirmed in American football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Jan. 30). 1900-1912: ‘First Concussion Crisis’ for beloved football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 11). ‘Heads Up’ theory, football helmets and brain disease, 1883-1962. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 31). Teddy Roosevelt loved football, except when it brutalized his son. Sports.Vice.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Nov. 29, 2016). “Slaughter of the innocents”: When D.C. considered banning high school football. Sports.Vice.com.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, with an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Footballfrom his Four Walls Publishing in 2009Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email him at mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com or visit the website for more information.

1907 JAMA: ‘Football is no game for boys to play’

By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The year 1905 would become storied for “reform” of American football, even if the large majority of critics only wanted “open” play and elimination of “foul” tactics like punching. College football was a national tradition and big business, with famed teams like Yale and Harvard constituting major entertainment enterprises. Universities, newspapers and magazines capitalized in their symbiotic commerce of promoting the blood sport. Very few individuals spoke up for college football’s abolition in 1905, despite legend to endure. But juvenile football at schools and preps was different, facing distinct threat in a controversy overlooked by future historians. Abolitionists confronted schoolboy football nationwide at outset of the 1900s, and supporters of the youth game rallied for the fight. President Theodore Roosevelt enmeshed himself in football debate and impacted public opinion; the immensely popular “T.R.” heartily endorsed school football, often mentioning his sons’ game exploits in speech, conversation and letter. But prickly questions loomed. Ostensibly this was time of “progressive reform” and citizen welfare, child protection—led by President Rooseveltand the issue of juvenile football confronted institutions of medicine, government, education and athletics, over ethics and law. Voices of college football and higher education increasingly denounced the game for minors. The boys game had grown since the 1880s within football’s trace blazed by colleges, and the latter weren’t always appreciative of junior imitation. Many football insiders believed young adult players of prep academies, high schools and athletic clubs were sufficient to stock college teams. Moral arguments aside, such critics believed football players had but a shelf life for administering and withstanding game violence and stress, and that wasn’t served by premature starts. A majority of doctors ripped boys football in public, meanwhile, and girls tackle sport was unfathomable. When the widely promised “safer football” failed to materialize by end of 1907, especially for schoolboys, officials of the American Medical Association declared a clear stance in their prestigious journal.

The historical texts and notes on football issues previously posted here in timeline were publicly available only for a term. The collections are now in reserve by the researcher for future use. The following remain posted:

Chaney, M. (2016, Dec. 21). ‘Safe Football Failed in 1880s, Talking Points Lived On. ChaneysBlog.com

Chaney, M. (2015, July 28). The 1890s: Brain risks confirmed in American football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Jan. 30). 1900-1912: ‘First Concussion Crisis’ for beloved football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 11). ‘Heads Up’ theory, football helmets and brain disease, 1883-1962. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 31). Teddy Roosevelt loved football, except when it brutalized his son. Sports.Vice.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Nov. 29, 2016). “Slaughter of the innocents”: When D.C. considered banning high school football. Sports.Vice.com.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, with an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Footballfrom his Four Walls Publishing in 2009Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email him at mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com or visit the website for more information.

Boys Football Debate and Medical Remarks, 1899-1904

Edited by Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2017

While news of the NFL and NCAA dominates contemporary discussion over “safer football,” the juvenile game poses critical questions of ethics and legality, historic for the institutions of medicine, government, education and religion. Talking points and base evidence of today’s dilemma over juvenile football in America aired publicly more than a century ago. Controversy followed college football at turn of the 20th century, but the collision game for boys was roundly condemned. Girls tackle football was utterly disallowed. “Americanized” football was established tradition for the colleges, but debate over juvenile players divided authorities of institutions, including news media. A segment of college-football insiders believed juveniles shouldn’t play the collision sport. By 1900 medical specialists could adequately diagnose injuries and exertion problems of football players—including brain trauma and lasting disorder—but treatments were primitive. No antibiotic was yet known and emergency care was limited. Common injury like deep bruising, internal laceration and bone fracture posed significant risk for complications, especially infection, and bedridden patients, unable to rise for too long, simply died. Festering skin abrasion grew lethal in some cases, septic, and catastrophic injury to brain or spinal cord was a death sentence. But football advocates said the game was becoming “safe” and “sane” for players from boys to men. Football officials and supporters touted concepts such as medical supervision, proper training—including tackling with head placed aside—and leather helmets to prevent “concussion of the brain” in varying severity. Prep and school football had been organized since the 1880s by male figures acting as coaches and trainers, commonly principals and teachers. Advocates of boys football said “benefits outweigh risks” for lessons in teamwork, chivalry, warrior courage, and Muscular Christianity. Famed politician Theodore Roosevelt extolled football although he hadn’t played in college at Harvard; “Teddy” believed the sport exemplified his personal mantra, widely renowned of a speech: The Strenuous Life.

The historical texts and notes on football issues previously posted here in timeline were publicly available only for a term. The collections are now in reserve by the researcher for future use. The following remain posted:

Chaney, M. (2016, Dec. 21). ‘Safe Football Failed in 1880s, Talking Points Lived On. ChaneysBlog.com

Chaney, M. (2015, July 28). The 1890s: Brain risks confirmed in American football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Jan. 30). 1900-1912: ‘First Concussion Crisis’ for beloved football. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 11). ‘Heads Up’ theory, football helmets and brain disease, 1883-1962. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 31). Teddy Roosevelt loved football, except when it brutalized his son. Sports.Vice.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Nov. 29, 2016). “Slaughter of the innocents”: When D.C. considered banning high school football. Sports.Vice.com.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, with an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Footballfrom his Four Walls Publishing in 2009Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email him at mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com or visit the website for more information.

Brain Injury, Mental Disorder and Suicide Among Football Players, 1899-1909: A News Sampling

Edited by Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2017

Copyright ©2017 for historical arrangement by Matthew L. Chaney

The following cases were retrieved from innumerable news reports of traumatic brain injury among American football players more than a century ago, and details remain uninvestigated for medico-scientific data; the news timeline presents remarks of select medical literature, JAMA primarily; dates below denote publication of texts

1899 Dec 24  “Jeremiah Miller, a son of Councilman Edward R. Miller of Chatham, has been adjudged insane, and is now in the State asylum at Morris Plains [N.J.] … During a [football] game on Thanksgiving Day he received a severe blow on the head. His actions became peculiar and a commission was appointed to inquire into this sanity. The doctors decided that his mind had been unbalanced by the blow on the head” New York Times

1900 Mar 15  “Word was received here [New York City] that Stanley Huntington Riggs, noted as a football player, conspicuous in the Naval Reserves, and well known in this city, despondent over illness, had committed suicide in a lonely camp in the heart of Mexico” Tyrone Daily Herald PA

1900 Nov 13  “Young Richardson, of the Athens College [Ohio] football team, who was injured while playing with Washington and Jefferson team at Washington, Pa., last Saturday, was here yesterday in charge of friends. He seemed to be totally deranged, and was unable to remember occurrences of the past year. It is believed that he is suffering from concussion of the brain” Pittsburgh Daily Post

1901 Oct 10  “Leon Ayers, one of the brightest and most popular students in high school [at Janesville, Wis.], committed suicide at his room in the Y.M.C.A. building last night with chloroform. It is thought that he was mentally unbalanced, the result of a fall from scaffolding last summer and subsequent injuries in a football game a week ago. He was 19 years old” Topeka Daily Capital KS

1901 Nov 15  “Orville Prescott was very badly hurt yesterday afternoon in a practice game of football between the team of the city schools and the second team of the county high school… he came into collision with Charles James of his own team, when running at full speed. James’ head struck Prescott on the left side of the face with such force that very serious concussion of the brain resulted. … Doctors Demott and Tanquary were with him constantly until midnight last night and have been in close attendance upon him today. Up to this afternoon he had not been conscious, except for a minute or two, since being hurt, and most of the time has been so wild that a half dozen men are required to hold him in bed… Charles James was staggered and dazed for a time by the collision but not much hurt” Independence Daily Reporter KS

1901 Nov 25  “John L. DeSaulles, the plucky little [Yale] quarterback… was completely knocked out in Saturday’s [Harvard] battle on Soldiers’ Field. DeSaulles remained behind at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The doctors say he has a slight attack of cerebral concussion, but will be all right within a week. He was sent for today by the Yale football association, who wanted to take him home with them, but the hospital authorities refused them permission” Chicago Tribune

1901 Nov 26  “Johnny DeSaulles, Yale’s quarterback, returned to his college home in the cloister tonight with his roommate, Arthur Barnwell, the Yale centerfielder, who took him from the Massachusetts General Hospital today and brought him here [New Haven, Conn.]. DeSaulles is still weak, but danger of permanent injury from cerebral concussion is over. Trainer Murphy says that is was a solar plexus [chest] blow received when DeSaulles tackled Marshall which threw him into convulsions on the side lines after the game. Head Coach Stillman shares that opinion” Chicago Tribune

1902 Oct 21  “Charles Boyle, a pupil at the Hitchcock School, was injured about the head in a football game played at San Rafael on October 11th. A few days later he showed signs of mental derangement and was put under the care of trained nurses. His case developed to such an extent, however, that today his mother had him removed to a sanitarium in San Francisco. The boy’s malady is not deemed serious and an early recovery is anticipated” San Francisco Chronicle

1902 Dec 6  “The football season is now over and leaves behind it a very respectable record of casualties… There is something in most of us that makes danger a sort of relish to our pastimes, and it is perhaps to this barbaric element in our natures that some of the world’s progress is due. Professionally, however, we cannot approve of anything so unsanitary even in a purely traumatic way… Among the serious casualties of the game this year we have fractured skulls, injured spines, brain injuries resulting in insanity, as well as broken legs, ribs, collarbones, etc. To be a cripple or lunatic for life is paying high for athletic emulation” Journal of the American Medical Association

1903 Mar 18  “Herbert M. Peck, of Beaver Dam, leader of the Lawrence [debate] team was yesterday, at the request of the faculty of Lawrence University, examined by physicians… and ordered to discontinue all study or mental work of any kind for one year, on account of injury to the brain received last fall in a football game…  Peck left yesterday for his home in Beaver Dam” Oshkosh Daily Northwestern WI

1903 Jul 15  “Clinical reports of competent observers, coupled with everyday experiences, have clearly demonstrated that blows or falls on the head may cause serious trouble, both present and prospective, without producing fracture to the skull wall… Every case of recent head injury, however trivial it may appear, should, we believe, be treated with the greatest consideration, lest damage to hidden and important structures escape our attention, thus leaving a foundation for future trouble which too often is irreparable” Dr. W.H. Earles, for Journal of the American Medical Association

1903 Oct 21  “Charles Ewart, aged 18, son of C. C. Ewart, a wealthy farmer living near Akron [Ohio], committed suicide by hanging himself by a rope in the barn. An injury sustained while playing football, it is thought, affected his mind” Janesville Daily Gazette WI

1903 Nov 16  “Earl Neff, aged 16, was brought to the state hospital for the insane [in Columbus] Saturday from Kingston, Ohio. He is incurably crazed from injuries received in a game of football. He sustained concussion of the brain” Minneapolis Journal

1904 Jan 26  “Edward T. Reynolds [of Kearney, Neb.], well-known as a football player, committed suicide today by shooting himself. The only known cause is that he was greatly troubled with his hip, which was dislocated in a game” Salt Lake Tribune

1904 Jan 30  “While we do not wish to be considered as opposing legitimate athletic sports, we believe that in this particular game [football] the human wreckage far outweighs the good resulting from three or four months of athletic exercise and training. Our statistics show that there occurred 35 deaths during last year, and over 500 severe accidents to players” Journal of the American Medical Association

1904 Feb 6   “It has long been recognized that injures to the head, generally with but sometimes without fracture, may be responsible for brain abscesses appearing weeks, months or even years after the injury. The role of such injuries in the production of neuroses and psychoses has been universally recognized and in some quarters greatly exaggerated. The physician who is not in touch with modern psychiatry is often too willing to assure the relatives of the insane patient of the absence of inherited predisposition and to place the blame on some injury that no one had thought of for years. It is still unsettled whether injuries to the head can cause brain tumors, but a history of trauma is obtained in a small percentage of cases… Another post-traumatic affection has created considerable controversy for some years. In 1891 Bollinger first called attention to the occurrence of cerebral hemorrhage weeks or months after a head injury… The subject is worthy of attention, particularly on account of its obvious medico-legal importance. It is highly desirable that all such cases should come to autopsy, and a careful and critical comparison be made between the clinical and postmortem findings” Journal of the American Medical Association

1904 Jun 6   “During the [AMA] section of nervous and mental diseases, Dr. W.J. Herdman, of Ann Arbor, Mich., read an interesting paper on the present campaign against insanity. He said in part: ‘The attempt is being made in every enlightened community to study the problem of insanity in the light of the revelations of modern medical science. There is a general awakening to the necessity of a vigorous campaign against the causes leading to such diseases’ ” Detroit Free Press

1904 Oct 10  “Laboring under the hallucination that he was yet in the football game between Colorado and Nebraska, Charles Richardson startled the guests at the hotel Adams [in Denver] by making a mad rush through the corridors, frightening all the occupants of the fashionable hotel. The police were called and soon had Richardson subdued, removing him to the Emergency Hospital. It is said by physicians in charges of his case that his insanity is temporary, brought on by the effects of the high altitude. Players of the Nebraska eleven express ignorance as to Richardson’s home, although he played as a freshman. Richardson is a giant in stature, standing six feet two inches in height and weighing 210 pounds” Cincinnati Enquirer

1904 Nov 16  “Bucking, punching and dodging through the crowded [Chicago] streets Thomas H. Fountain, young athlete and football player, just committed to the insane asylum at Elgin, ran amuck from the Courthouse to the Title and Trust Building today and fought like a demon before he was captured. When Deputy Sheriff Lahey and a dozen citizens had subdued him, young Fountain made a speech: ‘I am sane as any man on earth,’ he shouted. ‘I have been committed through false and perjured evidence. They are pursuing and persecuting me to get my property’ ” Cincinnati Enquirer

1904 Nov 20  “Football players, according to Jere Delaney, trainer of the Northwestern University eleven, are subject to an ailment similar to softening of the brain, which leads not only to the making of peculiar statements, but causes strange actions which sometimes are amusing. The exact cause of the trouble, Trainer Delaney said, he is unable to fathom. He declared, however, that it results more from the long-continued physical and nervous strain to which the men are subjected during the three months of rigid training which they are forced to undergo than from the blows, kicks, and bumps they receive on their skulls during games” New York Times

1905 Feb 3   “In a well-managed college, where men physically unfit for football are prevented from playing the game, the risk of death on the football field within four years is not so great as the risk of riding horseback, driving an automobile or boating and yachting… Nevertheless, many serious injuries [of football] are likely to prove a handicap to the victim in later life. Sprains, concussions of the brain and injuries to bones are apt to leave behind them permanent weaknesses” Charles W. Eliot, Harvard U. president’s report, Saint Paul Globe

1905 Oct 23  “[The] center of the Broaddus College football team, brooding over a bad defeat recently sustained by the team, attempted suicide by jumping from a railroad bridge. He is in critical condition, suffering from internal injuries” Washington Times

1905 Dec 1   “Denny Clark, whose blunder made possible [the football defeat for U. Michigan], refused to join his fellows at dinner. He sobbed and remained in his room. Later in the evening he is said to have been in a state of mental collapse and threatened to take his life. So strange were his actions, it is said, that two of the squad remained at his side for fear that he would do himself harm” Anaconda Standard MT

1906 Jan 4   “The number, severity and permanence of the injuries which are received in playing football are very much greater than generally is credited or believed… The number of injuries is inherent to the game itself… The percentage of injuries is incomparably greater in football than in any other of the major sports… Constant medical supervision of the game where large numbers of men are engaged is a necessity and not a luxury… The percentage of injury is much too great for any mere sport… the conditions under which the game is played should be so modified as to diminish to a very great degree the number of injuries” Drs. Edward H. Nichols and Homer B. Smith, Harvard U. team physicians, for Boston Medical and Surgical Journal

1906 Jan 4   “Cases of concussion were frequent, both during practice and games. In fact, but two games were played during the entire season in which a case of concussion did not occur… The mental state of the players who had concussion was variable, some being highly excitable and hysterical, others merely confused, and in a few cases, knocked completely unconscious… The real seriousness of the injury is not certain… from conversation with various neurologists, we have obtained very various opinions in regard to the possibility of serious after effects” Drs. Edward H. Nichols and Homer B. Smith, Harvard U. team physicians, for Boston Medical and Surgical Journal

1906 Jan 4   “No one seems to be in a position to settle with certainty the question as to whether there is any possibility of later effects from concussion. Many of the joint injuries are of such a character as to be likely to be progressively worse and many injuries to the shoulder are certain to cause some disability in later years” Drs. Edward H. Nichols and Homer B. Smith, Harvard U. team physicians, for Boston Medical and Surgical Journal

1906 Jan 13  “Dr. Edward H. Nichols and Dr. Homer B. Smith, who had the medical and surgical care of the football squad of Harvard during the past season, have given their observations and conclusions in an article on ‘The Physical Aspect of American Football.’ We may say at once that their conclusions are entirely against the game as judged from its medical standpoint” Journal of the American Medical Association

1906 Jan 13  “Perhaps the most serious feature of [the Nichols-Smith football study] is the number of concussions of the brain reported… When a condition like this develops as the result of an injury, the central nervous system has received a very severe shaking up” Journal of the American Medical Association

1906 Jan 13  “The whole report of the two surgeons in charge of the Harvard squad should be read by every prominent educator throughout the country, and it should be the duty of the members of the medical profession to see that it is called particularly to their attention… An attempt has been made to gloss over football’s worst aspects by widely published suggestions that no game is entirely without the danger of death under accidental circumstances” Journal of the American Medical Association

1906 Jan 15  “James Blakemore, a student at the University of California… [was] found insane at Weaverville yesterday by a commission… physicians who examined him reported that he was injured two years ago in a football game, when he received a kick on the nose, which left him subject to headaches. That injury, over-study and lack of exercise are given as the cause of his insanity” San Francisco Chronicle

1906 Oct 23  “James Dodd, 17 years old, a junior of the Wilton High school, was made crazy by an injury in a football game at Winthrop [Mass.] today. His school team competed against Winthrop High school. Dodd played left tackle, and in the third scrimmage of the first half fell and was kicked in the back of the head. He finished the half, but acted peculiarly, and when time was called it was found necessary to take him to the Winthrop hospital. The attending physician pronounced it a serious case of concussion of the brain” Detroit Free Press

1906 Dec 5   “Terrence McGovern, the prize fighter, who is matched to fight Young Corbett in Baltimore late in January, was taken to the observation ward of the Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn today, for examination as to his sanity” Los Angeles Times

1907 Mar 26  “George A. Rundell, 20 years old, has become insane as the result of an injury received on the gridiron last fall and was sent to Cleveland State Hospital. He is an all-round athlete, was captain of the football team of Baldwin University at Borea last year, and won the Ohio ice skating championship here last December. The injury which caused him to become insane occurred last fall, when he was badly hurt in a scrimmage and was carried unconscious from the field. He grew violent Sunday and, hearing a fancied grievance against his mother, attacked her” Wilkes-Barre Evening News PA

1907 Dec 21  “It is only fair to withhold final judgment on the effect of the new rules until more facts are at hand… There need be no such hesitation, however, in deciding that football is no game for boys to play… It is clear that persons of delicate build or immature development should not be allowed to engage in football” Journal of the American Medical Association

1908 Jan 9   “Urban Angney, captain of the K.U. football team and member of the senior class, committed suicide at 9:25 this morning by jumping from the fifth story dome on Frazier Hall, one of the college buildings on Mount Oread. The reason of his rash act has not yet been discovered but friends have noticed an apparent spirit of melancholy for about ten days. It is also known that he talked to Dr. James Naismith, a member of the faculty, a few days ago about his health, of which he complained, but there seemed to be nothing serious the matter with him. He attended school up to today and his school work was in good shape. Some of the students think the captain may have become despondent because of a disappointment in love, but it is generally agreed that he became mentally unbalanced from some cause. He was a general favorite among the scholars and with the faculty. The news of his death came as a terrible shock to the whole city, and school work is practically destroyed for the day” Wellington Daily News KS

1908 Jan 10  “The suicide of [Kansas football star] Urban Angney remains unsolved. No reason can be assigned for the act… The coroner believes he was insane, and no other reason for his deed has appeared… Angney, as quarterback, ‘ran the team’ last season, and had been elected captain for next season… although often tackled while carrying the ball, he was not struck upon the head or injured on that member in any way. In the Washburn game at Topeka, his knee was injured so badly that he played no more games until Thanksgiving, when he went through the entire game at St. Joseph [Mo.] without a single bump. Dr. [James] Naismith, physical director at the university, and Manager Lansdon of the athletic association, say he was in the pink of condition physically… About ten days ago Angney went to Dr. Naismith and told him that he was troubled and worried, and asked for some medicine. Dr. Naismith recommended a course in gymnasium work” Salina Evening Journal KS

1908 Jan 12  “Monday night at Ogden, Utah, [boxer] Battling Nelson is to show whether his sun still shines in the heavens or has already set… Rumors that Nelson has ‘fighter’s dance’ [symptoms of brain disorder to become known as ‘punch drunk’ by World War I and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 1940] and that he is as much a wreck with it as poor George Gardner, continue to circulate” Detroit Free Press

1908 Jan 13  “Among the many theories which are being advanced concerning the reason for Urban Angney’s mind being unhinged, is one told last evening by members of the [Kansas quarterback’s] family. Urban had been reading Plato’s ‘Phaedo,’ for work in an educational class, and the trend of the work is much that it might affect a person with a gloomy mind. The evening before he committed suicide Urban Angney was reading the ‘Phaedo’ and seemed to be brooding about it. The family think that this might have had some influence on his mind” Chanute Sun KS

1908 Sep 13  “Henry Clay Marshall, representing a New York banking firm, committed suicide yesterday morning in a field near Stanton and Heberton avenues by shooting himself in the breast… Marshall had been suffering for years from an injury received in a football game while attending a preparatory school in the East. It had affected his sight and he lost the use of one eye” Pittsburgh Post

1908 Oct 31  “Herbert Broughton, a student in the Kansas state normal school at Emporia was taken to the hospital, violently insane. Broughton was first noticed acting peculiarly and later it took three men to hold him. Physicians say overwork caused the derangement, and that with rest he will recover. Broughton was a brilliant student. Besides carrying five studies he was steward of a boarding club and practiced football two hours a day with a squad. He was not a member of the regular team and was never hurt” Humboldt Union KS

1908 Nov 22  “This year also has a larger list of those injuries which may cause permanent bodily defects. Twenty-two youths, the majority of them college players, suffered concussion of the brain, one being rendered temporarily insane. There were fourteen injuries in the same manner last season. This part of the season’s harvest seems a direct argument against the open game, as practically all of the brain injuries reported were received in running tackles, made prominent by the open game, in contrast to the close struggles in the mass plays of the past” Chicago Tribune

1908 Dec 8   “An accident in a recent football game made a highwayman of Ashton B. Collart, aged 20, according to his father, Martin C. Collart, who filed an insanity complaint against his son [in Cleveland]. Young Collart was arrested on Saturday charged with holding up George Lau… ‘My son’s mind was affected by an injury sustained when he was five years old,’ the father said. ‘This fall he played football and suffered a concussion of the brain. Since then he has been unbalanced’ ” Chicago Tribune

1908 Dec 19  “Reformed football, judging from the results of the late season, seems to be about as fruitful in serious accidents as it was before the change of rules… There is evidently need for more improvement” Journal of the American Medical Association

1909 Jan 24  “Jay Lundy, college student [in Wisconsin], lay Methodist minister and head of a college fraternity clubhouse restaurant, will defend a charge of arson brought against him by pleading insanity. It will be asserted that he was rendered insane by injuries received in a football games, particularly the game last fall between Lawrence and Marquette universities. Lundy was quarterback for the Lawrence eleven, but early in the game was badly injured. He went back into the game, however, and it was not realized until the half was over that the team had been under the generalship of a man who could not tell friend from foe. He was delirious for hours, and was not able to enter his classes for two weeks” New York Tribune

1909 Jun 22  “Robert L. Drake, son of Isaac A. Drake, a retired stockman, committed suicide by swallowing carbolic acid, while standing on the sidewalk at Thirty-ninth street and State line last night [in Kansas City]. Drake was injured in a football game four years ago between Westport High School and Manual High School. When he was graduated from Westport, he went to the Rolla School of Mines, which he attended three years. Two years ago he was injured a second time while playing football with the Rolla team against the Arkansas University team at Fayetteville, Ark. Both injuries affected his head. His father, who saw him last night the first time in two weeks, believes the football injuries were responsible for his deed” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

1909 Sep 9   “Harry Coughanour, a student in the Uniontown High school, sustained a slight concussion of the brain yesterday afternoon in a practice game of football at Hustead’s field. In a scrimmage the boy, who is 16 years of age, was thrown violently to the ground and while his companions knew that he had been hurt, did not think it serious until sometime later. Coughanour resumed play but acted queerly and on advice of friends finally gave up. He came downtown and after bathing his head with ice water at the Gallatin hotel, said that he felt first rate. His companion left him and an hour or so later the lad was found listlessly wandering about in the alley in the rear of Judge Umbel’s home. He was taken home and told the members of the family that he had been at a fire in the East End, an indication of delirium, which caused some alarm. Dr. Frank H. Taylor was summoned and dressed the injury at the lad’s home in Lenox street. No serious consequences are feared” Uniontown Morning Herald PA

1909 Oct 11  “It is to be hoped that if football retains its hold upon the American heart that ‘butting’ may be so modified as to preserve the college young man’s skull for future and perhaps more laudable uses. In any event ‘tackle’ with heads up should be substituted for ‘tackle’ with heads down in the football contest. Athletes may get along with broken noses and gradual elimination of front teeth but the skull is valuable and rules should be made to hold it intact if possible” Asbury Park Press NJ

1909 Nov 18  “Milton Moeser… was injured in a football game [and] has been forced to retired from school for a time. Physicians decided that he had undoubtedly suffered a slight concussion of the brain, with had caused him to become absent-minded and unable to concentrate his thoughts. The doctors are of the opinion that the boy will recover from the effects of the injury after a few weeks’ rest” Newport Miner WA

1909 Nov 19  “It is probable that the tragic death of Cadet Byrne at West Point and the severe accident at Annapolis will result in a Congress discussion of the game at the next session of that body. Why would it not be a first-rate method of getting some scientific information, asks The Medical Record, to institute a careful inquiry into the post-graduate histories of the West Point and Annapolis cadets? The ordinary college football player is lost to the statistician when he leaves college, but the military and naval graduates remain in the same body of men, and close records of their lives are easily available for study. It might be that such an inquiry would throw light upon the question of how football players ultimately compare with others” Washington Post

1909 Nov 21  “Football has claimed its annual toll. Twenty-nine dead and 209 crippled, many for life… Many of the injured players later succumbed to their hurts. Many were borne away to insane asylums. Last year the college folk defended the open style of football, claiming that the injuries and deaths were due to the inexperience of participants in the game. With another year in which to become familiarized with the new ethics the toll has increased rather than fallen away” Louisville Courier-Journal

1909 Nov 27  “Backing up the theory of temporary insanity, the relatives of W.Y. Ellis, on trial for the killing of N.P. Willis, took the stand today [in Little Rock] and unfolded a painful story of family afflictions… Character witnesses swore to the previous good reputation of the defendant. An accident to Ellis in a football game in Little Rock in 1901, when he was a member of the University of Arkansas eleven, broke into the trial today… [during the game] Ellis was knocked unconscious by a blow behind the ear. He was carried from the field to the Gleason Hotel and did not regain consciousness until after midnight. In the next game, shortly afterward, with the Kansas Medics at Fayetteville, he was again knocked unconscious by a blow on the head and put out of the game” Indianapolis Star

1909 Dec 9   “The defense in the trial of James M. Harmon, Jr., charged with the murder of Maud Hartley of Somerville, Dec. 18, 1903, was rested shortly before noon yesterday… Dr. Edward B. Lane, formerly at the McLean hospital and later superintendent of the Boston insane hospital, was the principal witness of the day as to the mental capacity of Harmon… Dr. Lane said he thought Harmon’s brain might have been injured when he was hurt at a football game, but he would not say there was a lesion of the brain. The lump over Harmon’s eye, from a medical standpoint, was such as to raise suspicion” Boston Globe

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Footballfrom his Four Walls Publishing in 2009Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com or visit the website for more information.

‘Safe’ Football Failed in 1880s, Talking Points Lived On

American football ‘experts’ developed timeless promises for preventing injuries 130 years ago but failed, repeatedly, to solve anything

By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Copyright ©2016 by Matthew L. Chaney

Brutality of American football was under control and diminishing, game leaders declared by the late 1880s. Problems of injury and “slugging” were basically resolved, winnowed down to isolated incidents through a decade of reform efforts, they said.

Football advocates agreed. “The game is as safe as any outdoor game can well be… in the larger colleges,” wrote Alexander Johnston, Princeton professor and football booster. Johnston’s how-to football article for Century Illustrated Magazine in 1887 was complemented with artist renderings of Foul Tackle and Fair Tackle for instructive contrast. “With good physical condition in the players, the requisite training, and suitable grounds, the game is not only one of the best of outdoor sports, but one of the safest,” Prof. Johnston assured readers.

College football leadership amounted to a few young men, some playing yet. Rule-makers for the Intercollegiate Football Association now exercised “almost sole control over the general conduct of the players upon the field,” promised Walter Camp, the IFA committee leader, referee, Yale co-coach and football writer. “We shall see a much more quiet [scrimmage] line and a much steadier style of playing, characterized by clever running but sharper tackling. Captains will train their men to keep their tempers.”

American tackle football originated from the English games of “kicking” and rugby. The Chicago Tribune depicted brutal play as past-tense, eliminated. “Centuries ago it was war on a small scale. Time has civilized the game. American college rules, modifications of the Rugby game, made it less clumsy and more adroit.”

American football had become scientific, refined by experts like Camp, according to advocates in news and education. “A great advance has been made in the method of playing the game within the last ten years or so,” stated a national news report, “and in consequence the liability of accident has been greatly reduced, while the interest has not been detracted from in the least.”

Football and its social scene marked “the rage” among popular “amusements,” booming as mass entertainment. But safe field contact and injury reduction didn’t materialize as the 1888 season played out in November.

Football critics roiled again, detecting nil improvement despite new rules; they saw violence only heightening on playing fields. When violations, malicious assaults and injuries marred a Thanksgiving game in New York City, ridicule kicked back on rule-maker Camp, who refereed the melee.

“Several Men were Laid Out,” headlined The New York Sun, in aftermath of Wesleyan College versus Pennsylvania at the Polo Grounds. “There was rough and bitter play.” The football spectacle “was the roughest, most reckless, dangerous and unskillful game which has been played here for several years…,” remarked The New York Tribune, “an exhibition of how much twenty-two vigorous young athletes will endure for the name and fame of their college… one man was disqualified when there should have been half a dozen.”

Leg chops, body blows, neck tackles and head shots abounded between Wesleyan and Penn. Players were clad in canvas jackets, knee breeches, skull caps, and shoes with steel spikes. They exchanged head-butts, shoulder-rams, elbowing, shoving, pushing, grabbing, tossing, kneeing, kicking, stomping and punching. Players suffered battered and mangled limbs, tissue punctures, facial lacerations, bloody noses, “concussion” and more symptoms of traumatic brain injury [TBI], according to news reports. Most injured players didn’t leave the game, carrying on dazed, hurting and agitated.

The New York Times oozed disgust, relaying that “both teams endeavored to find out which possessed the most force as battering rams, and they were ramming away most cheerfully when time was called, at 4:45, just as it was growing too dark to see the ball except at close quarters. The referee was Walter Camp of Yale, and the umpire was M. Hodge of Princeton. Both of these gentlemen escaped unscathed.”

Camp, the acclaimed “Father of Football” at age 29, typically steered press coverage instead of taking flak. He deflected culpability for the Thanksgiving debacle, blaming Wesleyan and Penn players for failure to “tackle properly.” And controversy abated, again, for gladiatorial sport at colleges.

II.  1800s ‘Foot ball’ Spreads America, Players Adopt Rugby Style, and Fans Flock

The American story of athlete-turned-politician was a headliner in 1843, embodied by Joseph R. Williams, Whig Party congressional candidate from Michigan. Williams was a Harvard alumnus known for “his swiftness of foot and his dexterity in kicking the football on the college green,” newspapers touted. An opinion-page commentator saluted the shrewd political promotion—Williams as athletic candidate—calling it “a new point of distinction in the character of a public man.” Indeed, agrarian America admired manly physical prowess, regarded higher than a college education by most folks, Harvard notwithstanding.

“Kicking football” captured American fancy by outset of the Victorian Era, decades ahead of rugby’s emergence in the states. All ages enjoyed the “footie” game later known as soccer and primarily for its participatory experience, the exhilarating movement, rather than spectating. Whenever a round Goodyear ball appeared for an outdoor gathering, ranging from kids in a street to adults at a lawn party, people sprang to chase and kick the rubber. Public awareness of football emanated from the Northeast, spreading westward and southward via carriers like newspapers, railroads, military posts, churches and schools.

Civil War camps were major conduits for football’s cultural reach. Military units from everywhere, North and South, indulged the game as a fun substitute for drill, boredom—and an intense outlet for male aggression. Kicking a football was risky enough, especially for hurting legs, but many troops preferred rough action favored by college students, more body contact. “Foot ball and boxing matches are of frequent occurrence,” read a Union dispatch from Washington camps in October 1861, “and are participated in with much spirit.”

Outdoor athletics rose in prominence after the war, with “base ball” surging ahead before gladiatorial sport quickly caught up. Boxing garnered headlines, although largely negative because of prizefighting’s illegality. News spotlight trained on the fresh import from England, Rugby School football. Rugby featured ball-carriers and tacklers on the run and colliding, daredevil entertainment for spectators.

Early rugby in America included a match of 1869 between cricket clubs at Philadelphia. The Inquirer published a set of collision rules, “chiefly from those of Rugby School,” including:

13. A player, on catching the ball on the fly of first bound, may carry the ball, and endeavor to reach the opponents’ goal.

14. The privileges of hacking (or kicking) below the knee, tripping, and use of the arms with elbows squared, in charging, or in the scrimmages, will be allowed.

15. Mauling, or the use of the hands, is prohibited, except on the ball.

16. The arms shall not be used against any part of the person above or below the chest.

An enthusiastic crowd supported the Philly ruggers on Nov. 20 as the host Germantown Cricket Club defeated the Young America Cricket Club by scoring 16 “rogues” or goal-line crossings, according to The Inquirer. Future football historians, however, would mark a different 1869 event as milestone: The first inter-collegiate football game of record, played by English Association rules—soccer—on Nov. 6 in Camden, New Jersey, across river from Philadelphia. Host Rutgers College defeated Princeton in the kicking game by a score of 6 to 4, for “innings” won.

Rugby style beckoned college males. Students had long converted footie games into tests of ball-carrying and blocking, knocking. It suited Yale men for class games in 1852, with one combatant rendered unconscious and “borne bleeding from the field,” per a report. Young males willfully turned to body-bashing and worse in football, spurred by competitiveness and often anger. On many campuses the contests served as hazing missions of upperclassmen, under cloak of athletics, for bloody assaults on freshmen sanctioned or ignored by faculty.

While intercollegiate football began largely as kicking games, Yale and Columbia experimented with rugby elements in a physical faceoff of 1872. The Harvard team fully committed to ball-carrying and collision football, playing rugby versions in games against McGill College of Canada and also matches with Yale and Tufts College in 1875.

Controversy embroiled rugby in homeland England over generations of violence and injuries among schoolboys. The 1870s debate erupted in reader letters printed by The London Times and moved into editorial pages of the medical journal Lancet. Several doctors and educators condemned rugby for casualties ranging from bone-and-joint traumas to deaths of organ rupture and neck fracture.

Grieving schoolmaster S.G. Rees, of the Wasing Rectory, urged the Times editor to denounce rugby football at public schools. Rees had been fond of young player Sydney Branson, whose death after intestinal rupture prompted a coroner to criticize “the game as now played.” Rees, in his letter to the editor of March 24, 1875, wrote:

I have too much reason to speak with bitterness of this [Rugby School] game of football, against which I warned [Branson] on the week before. He was the last remaining hope of my old age, and he was about to be married to my only child, who is now in a most critical state from the misery caused by this terrible event. I am sure if the mothers in England could have watched by that dying boy’s side, and witnessed the agonizing pangs, the fearful tortures arising from his internal wounds, and misery of parting with those now desolate ones, to whom he was everything in life, they would, with one voice… cry aloud against this most pernicious game. Accidents may happen in hunting, cricket, and boating, but this is a fight, where injuries are directly inflicted by one man upon another.

Some youths hesitated to join the maw, but many English schools mandated rugby while others exerted pressure to participate. The intimidating activity combined “football, handball, tussling, and wrestling,” observed a Times letter from a father.  “I have long ago determined never to send any of my sons to a public school where it is played, however good the school might be in other respects,” he wrote.

In America of autumn 1876, a news ripple followed the organizing of IFA and adoption of Rugby Union rules by football teams at four colleges: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. But many athletes stood ready to embrace rugby. Clubs at colleges, preps and towns were already active throughout the Northeast and in outposts like Ann Arbor, Chicago, Evanston, Milwaukee and Louisville.

“It is pretty rough pastime,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle previewed of IFA rugby style, “and it needs great control of temper in its players to avoid personal quarrels as a result of the frequent and violent collisions which occur in closely contested matches… Of late years it has grown in favor with our American college youths, and our larger school boys, and this Fall more than usual attention is being paid to it.”

Competition commenced with rugby balls of oblong leather, and in succeeding years American football grew distinct as IFA rules evolved. The game’s popularity exploded between 1876 and 1883, with gate attendance rising to 10,000 fans for Thanksgiving games staged in Manhattan.

Newspapers enjoyed circulation spikes for daily football coverage and added print space, producing “Sporting News” pages on Sunday. The lucrative football-media synergy led newspapers into public cheer-leading for the sport, and magazines and books readily glorified it, printing tales for a growing audience young and old.

Many newspapers unabashedly promoted football and recruited young males to play. The “manly” game benefited of a fortune in free headlines and stories, and writers routinely solicited males to fill needy rosters at clubs, colleges and schools. Some scribes openly challenged masculinity of halting local athletes. Additionally, reporting for a football game sold sex straightaway with female adornment standard in story lead and illustration, effuse portrayal of beautiful “ladies” in the grandstand. One way or another, thousands of men and boys were drawn to take their chance at heroism on the football field.

Rugby teams and leagues cropped up nationally, following cue of the news hub Northeast. College clubs nurtured the sport’s growth in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and California. School and town teams percolated in locales such as Little Rock, San Antonio, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Reno, Salt Lake, Jamestown, N.D., and Idaho City. Americanized football extended west to the Hawaiian Kingdom, where college men and schoolboys organized on Oahu Island.

In 1881 The Philadelphia Times declared football “promises ere long to become the really national pastime of the country, especially in the autumn months.” Numerous colleges and preparatory schools capitalized, hitching on the football bandwagon powered by the “Big Three” of Harvard and Yale—“the two leading institutions of learning in the United States,” according to The New York Times—and Princeton.

Marketing for enrollment was priority at colleges and academies, and the contemporary hot offering was physical culture curriculum complete with athletic teams, gymnasium and grounds. Sport like football inspired “enthusiasm and love for one’s Alma Mater,” an Amherst student wrote in the period, adding, “the college which wins the love of its students [for] her contests and triumphs will always prosper.” Many colleges embraced athlete-managed football “associations” sprouting on campuses. Administrations viewed football as a surefire seller for drawing students, benefactor alumni and more paying parties.

“Almost every institution of learning that has a campus or a back-yard large enough to toss pennies in can boast of a football team,” The New York Tribune observed, continuing: “the exercises of the fall term consist mainly in football, oatmeal eating, chapel exercises and Latin—mentioned, or course, in the order of their importance.” Skeptics of such modern education had their points, The Tribune acknowledged in 1883, but sports “when properly controlled, and restricted as they are at present in most colleges… the harm they do is very slight, and is greatly exceeded by the good.”

Among the perceived benefits over risks, football proponents insisted the activity was moral, curbing campus problems of hazing, fighting, drinking and gambling. The theory followed that football provided all students with clean catharsis for negative emotion and behavior. Proponents said a football player himself learned chivalry, toughness, discipline and teamwork. The game uniquely taught qualities “likely to prove of far more benefit in a business line… fitting a young man for life in the world,” remarked the Philadelphia Times, lauding its “splendid exercise.” Harvard, Princeton and Yale also hosted student boxing, likewise in deference to the 19th century notion that a sound mind was built on sound body, and that rugged sport prepared youths to defend the country in war. Football and “sparring” at colleges and preps served Muscular Christianity, supporters said.

But adversaries charged the opposite, alleging football spectacle on campus begat hooliganism, vice, mercenary athletes, immoral winning and further toxins for educational mission. Foremost, critics decried violence of American football, the myriad hazards and injuries for young bodies. They recommended dropping present-day rules and reverting to traditional “kicking” football that forbade tackling, blocking and ball-carrying. At Cambridge, the Harvard faculty demanded cessation of football competition with other colleges until someone enacted impact reform.

Football advocates answered, arguing their American game represented improvement on English versions. They said American football was less risky than both Rugby and Association [soccer] formats. “Now, anyone who has actually tried both games knows that the old game is by far the more dangerous,” a Princeton player wrote The Times under an apparent pseudonym. The letter-writer blamed individual players for violating American rules to cause any serious injuries.

The Yale football captain concurred in 1884, E.L. Richards, Jr., speaking with a reporter from bed, where he lay crippled by game injury. Wearing a leg cast, Richards denied he was hurt seriously. “Football is all right,” he said, smoking cigarettes and drinking champagne in a New York hotel room. “Nobody ever was killed by playing it. It’s a nice, healthy, manly exercise.”

Football insiders said their game injured few players while killing none. The claim was parroted by writers, more game supporters in the early 1880s, but it was false, according to review of period newspapers available in electronic search today. Organized tackle football in America injured and killed players from the start, including schoolboys.

III.  1876-1884: American Football Injury Factor and Official Rhetoric of Denial

Newspapers chronicled few injury incidents of American football prior to 1880, and valid medical literature didn’t exist. Indeed, legitimate epidemiological study on football casualties would remain inadequate spanning three centuries, or through the present, 2016, and our foreseeable future.

In 1836 a Carlisle College student died of football in Pennsylvania, for trauma presumably sustained in a kicking game. A newspaper noted the incident a half-century later, attributing local witnesses. “Talbot P. Moore… while engaged in the campus at a game of foot ball, was seriously injured—so much so that he never appeared again with his class in college, but lingered at his home and there died,” reported The Carlisle Herald.

Football-injury news gained a beat in the 1870s, spurred by thriving popular press of the Industrial Age, but especially for Rugby style’s takeover at many colleges, athletic clubs and schools. Risky football spectacle was alluring for many males, leading to a traumatic brain injury in eastern Indiana: “A little boy named Charlie Green ran into an excited crowd at foot-ball, at the First Ward School this morning [in Richmond], and being knocked down was run over and trampled upon until almost killed. His head was badly lacerated, and he was taken home insensible,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in 1875.

A few football fatalities appeared in newspapers. An 1877 brief announced a player’s dying at the University of Michigan, identified as “Dr. Currey.” Death occurred from complications of a damaged chest artery, according to The Hillsdale Standard, but e-information accessible to this investigator in 2016 provided no further detail. Some faculty members played football at colleges and prep academies in the 19th century, so Currey possibly represented the campus “medics” rugby team, which faced off against the law school squad in Ann Arbor. Elsewhere, Vermont, young Michael Corvea died, reportedly of a kick to his abdomen in football.

Major newspapers and magazines, concentrated in the Northeast, hardly addressed football fatalities in that initial decade because none occurred at Yale, Princeton or Harvard—not yet. The Big Three dominated football content as the only teams to sell nationally for reader consumption. But injuries riddled those lineups and some writers reported a casualty problem for football in general, criticizing Rugby style as too violent for colleges, schools and other entities.

“A large number of the players have been strained and terribly lamed,” The Boston Daily Globe observed. “In fact, some of the injuries received by a number of the players have been so severe that the attention of [faculty educators] has been called to the dangerous character of the game.”  The New York Times covered a bloody practice session for a football club, observing: “Rugby Union rules lead to a game none of the gentlest, and several aspiring players were seen to leave the field in a sadly demoralized condition.”

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle skewered “American Rules” football from the beginning, in commentaries printed without writer bylines. “It is a fruitful source of ruptures, sprained limbs and injuries which leave their mark for years, if not for a lifetime. It is the roughest of games now played.” The paper portrayed an environment rather hopeless for meaningful safety reform:

[Football] cultivates the combative feelings of our youth to a high degree, and engenders anything but good feeling… The game as now played is little else than a continuous series of wrestling matches for the possession of the ball, in the course of which players not only come into violent collision with each other, but they are grappled with and thrown violently to the ground… the possessor of the ball often has the breath pressed out of him by the weight of five or six heavy men lying on one another on top of him. No matter in what position he may fall when holding the ball, his opponents fall on him and thus it frequently happens that arms are broken or wrists or ankles sprained while the severe twisting of the body in the wrestling encounters is a fruitful source of ruptures.

In 1878 The Daily Eagle urged institutions to drop rugby in favor of lacrosse or traditional footie. The paper opined that “at present foot ball, rightly speaking, is not played in this country,” continuing:

Lacrosse is vastly superior to foot ball in the special respect of its possessing all the attractions which swift running, graceful activity, pluck, courage and endurance present, without the inducements to ill natured contests and the liability to life long injuries which is so characteristic of foot ball. If foot ball, however, were modified and really made a foot ball game, it would not be so bad, but as it is it is the most dangerous game now in vogue and one which has nothing to commend it to gentlemen.

On the contrary, other news writers declared football posed no higher risk than baseball, boating and horseback riding. Fan newsmen thought football to be the perfect antidote for a male population growing effeminate since the war. No IFA official commented on injuries during the late 1870s, given news content surveyed for this analysis. Leaders of American football were students, including Walter Camp, then a Yale undergraduate player doubling as intercollegiate rule-maker.

But talking points were already established for advocacy of rough football, a rhetoric constructed among Rugby School loyalists over decades of controversy in England. Rugby’s trusted response to public backlash in Britain framed the following claims:

•Rugby dangers were in the past because of new rules strictly enforced.

•Association Rules football [soccer] was riskier than Rugby School.

•In properly played rugby injuries were accidental, serious casualties rare.

•Unfit or malicious individuals caused injuries, not rugby.

•Rugby was safer than hunting, boating or cricket.

•Rugby critics were ignorant of the sport science.

•Rugby injuries were exaggerated by doctors and the press.

But bad press and disturbed doctors hit English rugby once again in 1878, and this U.K. debate made headlines in American papers. A London physician said: “At the top of the list of bad physical exercises I place the game of football. This game, in some modes of playing it, is the cause of more physical mischief than I can describe. To say nothing of the immediate injuries that occur from it by falls, sprains, kicks and concussions, broken bones, dislocations, broken shins and other visible accidents, there are others of a less obvious kind, which are sometimes still more disastrous. Hernia, or rupture, is one of these disasters; varicose veins is another; and disease of the heart from pure over-strain is a third.”

Following death of an English rugger, a coroner’s jury recommended revision of Rugby rules to eliminate injuries. In America, meanwhile, football leaders pondered major changes as casualty incidents appeared more frequently in newspapers during the 1879 season. At least two American fatalities occurred: John P.H. Smith, a 17-year-old in Illinois, died after suffering internal ruptures in a football game at State Normal University; and an unidentified youth died in New York City from complications of leg fracture—“a timely warning for impetuous and incautious ball-players”—newspapers reported.

The Big Three teams didn’t play cautiously, could not, given their battle sweepstakes. Thousands of fans now paid admission to see games of Yale, Harvard and Princeton. The champion enjoyed money windfall and prestige. But necessary injuries mounted against winning, too, such as for Yale that season. Eleven of the roster’s 15 players were hurt in varying degrees. In one game, abdominal trauma sidelined a man while captain Camp was dropped by an elbow to the gut, although he got up and played on.

A frightening injury felled Princeton star halfback T.H.P. Farr, against lowly Columbia University, a game described as “a series of conflicts resulting in fouls.” The New York Sun reported a tackler’s arm swung into Farr at the throat and “his body straightened out like a whiplash… dropped to the ground like a stone.” Farr lay still several minutes before rising and moving “slowly to the dressing house, with a friend on either side.”

Neck tackling was perilous like common head butting, the latter being “a gross violation of foot-ball rules,” The Times noted in 1879. Blockers led “rushes” by ramming, pushing and grabbing, or “guarding” ball-carriers in violation of Rugby rules. At season’s climax, the Thanksgiving game that drew 6,000 spectators, rule-making players opened discussion for new code.

Camp chiefly designed American football’s makeover from 1880 to 1882. Safety was the expressed purpose, officials later recalled, for “opening” the game and minimizing injury. Three primary developments drove change: a) establishing a line of “scrimmage” between opposing teams of 11 players per side; b) designating ball possession for one side at a time; and c) extending ball possession when a side advances five yards in three downs.

Foremost, the rugby “scrummage” was eliminated, or the circle of interlocked players kicking and struggling over the ball for chance possession. The New York Sun lauded new IFA rules in an editorial of Oct. 20, 1880:

Heretofore the great objection to foot ball encounters has been the great number of serious injuries which have resulted from the dangerous [scrums], which have been such a marked featured of the Rugby Union games. Under the revised rules this objectionable feature has been partially removed, and eventually it will be entirely eliminated from the game. In its place there will be more “passing” of the ball, and more kicking it and catching it, with livelier work in running than before, and of course greatly less liability to serious injuries.

The Philadelphia Times agreed, praising new football. The American game had become “skillful, strategical play” demonstrated by “quick and accurate passing of the ball on close runs and in sharp dodging.” Public faith was strong, and football resurrected at Illinois State Normal University after pause for the death of Smith.

But harm was uninterrupted.  While fisticuffs and more forms of “slugging” might’ve been controlled, American rule-makers couldn’t overcome incorrigibility of their forward-colliding sport, its substantial risks and elemental casualties.

“Two players were knocked senseless in the [Columbia-Stevens] match at Hoboken on Tuesday, one having to be carried off the field,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on Nov. 3, 1881. “Half a dozen or more were lamed, and all, more or less, received bruises.”

“Taken at its best, foot-ball is always dangerous to the players,” The New York Times editorialized. “It is a source of broken limbs and ruptures.” Lincoln University player W.H. Clark died of a severed artery in Pennsylvania, proving “foot-ball is not always safe,” observed The Delaware County Daily Times.

The Harvard faculty committee on athletics threatened to end Crimson football before Thanksgiving in 1883. The committee found “games played under [American] rules have already begun to degenerate,” a faculty letter informed the Harvard captain.

News reverberated nationally. “College athletics have received a set-back in the refusal of the Harvard faculty to allow their men to play foot ball with other colleges as long as the Rugby rules are followed,” The Des Moines Register editorialized on front page, Dec. 5, 1883, continuing:

Under the old English rules foot ball was an entertaining, manly sport. Under the new rules it has become a dangerous, brutal pastime, little more than a display of brute strength. Throttling, tripping and knocking down are the means now largely used to win a game. Hardly a game passes between leading foot ball teams without some serious accident and broken bones are a frequent occurrence. The tendency of college athletics has been growing away from their original purpose—that of furnishing rational healthful sport—towards the development of professional athletes…

Harvard football resisted faculty pressure that season. The players promised stricter officiating and cleaner behavior then resumed their games.

Camp responded to Harvard faculty and all “bugbear” adversaries of football, criticizing them in a letter to newspapers and during a reporter’s interview. College graduate Camp no longer played football, after injury apparently ended his seventh season for Yale. In 1884 he attended medical school in New York while serving as IFA leader and part-time athletics coach at Yale, along with his ventures such as sports writing. Camp and Yale argued football dangers were overblown by ill-informed journalists and academics. “The men who write about the weakness and mistakes of our rules take a great deal upon themselves when they criticize what has been worked on by not only fairly-educated men, but real players, for half a dozen years,” stated a release from Yale football.

American football, according to Camp, was actually safer than both the Rugby and Association styles, and faculty meddling would ruin entire departments of physical education. Medical supervision and proper training protected college football players, Camp said, while the game promoted “temperance” by eliminating drinking, gambling and further unhealthiness. Camp, aspiring medical practitioner, said broken bones and head knocks were good lessons under proper guidance. So-called scientific boxing “works admirably” for a sporting man, he told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I have found by actual experience in training teams for several years that nothing aids a ball player more than good, hard sparring,” Camp said. “It teaches him to be constantly on his guard, keeps his eye always on the alert, and quickens his movements, making him spry, active and stirs up the blood.”

Camp’s philosophy was put to test at Yale one week later, with tragic outcome. His intramural boxing matches produced a critically injured student, Oliver Dyer, Jr., age 24. Camp, the fight organizer and referee a month shy of his 26th birthday, projected full responsibility onto Dyer for sustaining brain-spine trauma, his getting decked in PE activity. To blame Yale or mere “sparring” in “soft gloves” would be a mistake, Camp told the press. “The secret of the whole trouble is that Dyer was in no condition to enter the ring,” Camp pleaded, adding the student boxer seemed “dazed” prior to the fight. Camp said Dyer had trained improperly and likewise sinned for imbibing alcohol “the night before the set-to.”

“He was literally un-strong,” Camp attested of the medium-built Dyer. The larger opponent whom Camp approved, R.B. Williams, treated Dyer “very lightly, and did not knock him down as has been reported. He is a careful hitter.” Camp added, “Williams struck him a half-dozen left-handers about the face, and then I noticed that [Dyer’s] knees began to double under him and he fell backward.”

“He was fainting from excitement,” Camp said. “As he was going, a left-hander from Williams took him on the chin, and set his head back. He sank to the floor, and as unfortunately could be, his head struck the edge of the narrow board that forms the boundary of the ring in the gymnasium, with sufficient force to snap his neck.”

Dyer suffered in primitive hospital care of the time, paralyzed and mostly comatose over six days, before succumbing on March 14. An editorial critic or two commented, and Yale administrators and Walter Camp moved on from their boxing death. The general public and news media didn’t care, really.

American spiral of denial also muted fatalities of popular football, of course, and would do so at Yale and Harvard, soon, among major colleges hosting the blood sport.

IV.  1880s Football Reforms Finally Succeed, Officials Say, and News Parrots Message

College educators fretted over football’s festering concerns in the mid-1880s; some proposed establishing a central faculty body to draft rules and govern enforcement. But Brown president E.G. Robinson felt above it all. Robinson only allowed Brown students to play football on campus and in local Providence, among themselves and against clubs nearby. And that solved every issue, Robinson said smugly, including expense and safety.

“Brown does not indulge in athletics; she pleads guilty to that indictment of our friend of Yale. She is sadly behind the age,” Robinson told an alumni gathering at Delmonico’s restaurant in Manhattan, hours after Dyer’s death of Yale boxing under Camp. “There is no professor of pugilism at Brown,” assured Robinson. “There are no annual sparring matches there. She has no football team which ranges the country from Toronto to Tallahassee, exhibiting the elegant brutality of breaking shins and endangering spinal columns.

“Our small college is educating Rhode Islanders for their work in life and is doing much for New York in remedying the defects of the large colleges. Brown will do its best, our friends of Yale and Harvard, to help you to positions of real usefulness.”

Robinson’s remarks drew laughter, applause, along with editorial salutes in New York. But plaudits faded as Brown students predictably hurt each other in campus football. Rib fracture led a crippled sophomore to drop classes, depart for home, and a freshman sustained “serious” head injury at bottom of a football pile, according to newspapers. In 1886 a nightmare unfolded when Brown sophomore Edwin P. Goodell, 22, suffered injuries in a class scrimmage and died three weeks later, reported The Times.

The football experts, meanwhile, promised they were finally crafting solutions through yet another “reform” phase, no less than IFA’s third of the decade. Supporters spread positive word.

Harvard had allowed only class football for one season, and although severe injuries and fighting still occurred, players and faculty agreed the game was “much improved,” according to a release. In 1886 faculty permitted the Harvard team to resume intercollegiate games with Yale, Princeton and other schools. The Times blared the headline “Harvard Students Rejoice” on front page, commenting: “The wisdom of playing the class games last Fall is now seen. Through the interest aroused by these [campus scrimmages] more men have played the game than ever before, and a greater enthusiasm has been shown.”

Dr. Dudley A. Sargent, Harvard’s pioneering sports M.D. and trainer, blamed “professionalism,” moneyed interests, for harming intercollegiate games and health of players. Harvard’s stepping out of IFA for a year helped all of football, “too good a game to kill,” Sargent said. “Harvard athletics are assuming a purer and in every way a better tone than before.  To give them this tone is our goal. When the strong public sentiment is aroused in the country, other colleges will have to come around to our position.” Sargent said “rough and tricky” football was being eliminated.

Many writers echoed Dr. Sargent. A Philadelphia newsman hit Harvard’s “officious faculty” for interfering, and progressive activist Elizabeth Powell Bond figured supervised football “may be made a safeguard to the morality of students or other young men, whose sedentary life has in it an element of danger.” Football, surmised The New York Herald, prepped a young man for leadership through crisis of industrializing America. “Sometimes the shins, then again the head, and once in a while the ribs feel as though they had been struck by a pile driver; but when a fellow can stand up against these mishaps and is anxious only to win in spite of them, he is in part fitting himself to become a bank president, able to carry the institution through a panic.”

The Times trumpeted both Harvard’s IFA reentry and the sport’s growth in 1886. “Prominent football players” had persuaded editors that “objectionable” elements were cleansed. The Times proclaimed nullification of “brutality and abuses which had crept into the game under the old rules.”

Skeptics knew that Harvard alumni and students had pressured faculty to resume IFA games, especially Yale and Princeton events flush with cash, blossoming as national spectacles. Moreover, cynics understood IFA officials methodically only tinkered with field rules, always short of wholesale change. The rule-makers’ primary moves from 1884 to 1887 were designating a field umpire to aid the referee, instituting automatic player ejection for “unnecessary roughness,” and pledging strict enforcement, moral adherence to code by all parties.

A ridiculing response circulated in Vermont, a state with a decade of football casualties including a boy’s severe TBI and the killing of Corvea. The news commentator abhorred football, suggesting players should consider iron face cages appearing in baseball. “The time has passed when the criterion of human achievement is confined to the low plane of physical prowess.”

Carlisle, Pa., held a grim statistic of three football deaths within 50 years of local memory, most recently for the 1886 game between Swarthmore and Dickinson, two little colleges dreaming big for sports. Dickinson sophomore Harry Garrison died of a brain impact. “Garrison captured the ball [on defense] when his opponents made a rush, and in the scramble that ensued he was thrown backwards with great force. His head struck the earth, or a stone, and ruptured a blood vessel behind the left ear,” a dispatch stated. A physician rushed to Garrison’s prone body but could do nothing.

The Harrisburg Telegraph editorialized the tragedy would “doubtless set thoughtful people to wondering whether, in the appeals to force which football contests encourage and the rules permit, too high a price is not paid for the physical culture they promote or the sport they are supposed to afford.” The Telegraph denounced faulty comparison to other activities:

Doubtless all games demanding fleetness and strength involve a certain degree of peril to participants. Death has resulted from an accidental blow with a ball or bat. Men have ridden to their death while engaged in the exciting sport of the race course. But it is not the purpose of the ball player to injure his opponent, nor of the jockey to put his life in peril. Therefore these cases are not analogous to accidents in football. In this game the object of the players on one side at certain stages is to stop the progress of their opponents, and the rules seemingly permit any degree of force to be used which accomplishes the result desired.

Football, “even under the new rules, is as dangerous as ever,” sports writer Jacob Morse observed in 1887. “The Amherst College team has been completely crippled by injuries to its players, while the Williams eleven have suffered much from injuries on the field… No one can deny, in the face of these facts, that a player goes into a game almost carrying his life in his hands.”

But football leaders did deny blame for injuries, as casualty reporting accelerated in newspapers. American football couldn’t stem its patent violence, but officials could influence information and public opinion. And football associates aided the denial—educators, doctors and newsmen.

Elite teams typically disclaimed responsibility for injuries and sickness among players, or conveyed nothing occurred at all. In early 1884, Camp of Yale contended that “not one of our men ever [has] been injured in the championship Rugby games” of IFA. “This is largely due to the system of training employed.” But med-student Camp was overlooking Yale’s publicized casualties in IFA games or “championship series” for years—including his own disabling injuries and those of teammates like F.M. Eaton, bedridden ill for a fractured collarbone. And publicized casualties rose on Big Three teams after Camp’s claim, unsurprisingly, with multiple calamitous cases occurring through decade’s end, whether football link could be verified or discounted.

A Harvard player died suddenly in June 1884, strongman Aaron Crane, while training for football and leading the school’s champion tug-of-war team. “The [coroner’s] inquest shows that his death was due to heart disease, and was brought on by overexertion in the gymnasium,” newspapers reported. But Dr. Sargent, Harvard’s famed gym director, dismissed talk of cardiac illness among his athletes. “That is absurd,” said Sargent, respected designer and marketer of training equipment and programs. “This belief is due to a misapprehension. I may have sometimes told men they had some tendency to heart trouble. Then, they have immediately rushed away and have said I told them they had heart disease.”

Sargent said athletes must follow his training protocols, and the sports doctor pledged to conduct regular medical assessment for Harvard teams. He suggested individuals were at fault.  “Last year there were men in the crew, in the baseball nine, and in the football team, who had no business there,” Sargent said. “They didn’t keep the rules of training, and were not manly enough to let the people know about it until it was too late. I shall see that nothing of that sort happens again.”

Results were mixed-bag. Apparently no other Harvard football player died from 1884 to 1887, given available e-texts, but many were hurt seriously despite Sargent’s training and monitoring. Newspapers covered injuries for prominent players, and at least three Harvard stars played following severe brain trauma—W.B. Phillips, H.E. Peabody, and George Adams—while another hovered near death of chest trauma.

A “concussion of the brain” devastated Phillips in 1884, reportedly, an incident that prompted Harvard faculty to halt intercollegiate football. Neural specialists publicly warned of permanent disorder from brain trauma, yet Phillips was re-injured playing football, the 1885 campus games touted as safe by Sargent and players—Phillips himself. Finally Phillips quit football after repetitive TBI during Harvard’s return to IFA competition.

Adams, meanwhile, was knocked unconscious in 1883 and retired from football, supposedly, only to return three years later, pressed to play against juggernaut Yale amidst Harvard’s team rebuilding. Albert “Bert” Holden was Harvard’s brawling, butting captain before a foe crushed him with a knee-drop in 1887, causing sternum fracture and “nervous shock” that hospitalized him for weeks. The brilliant Holden, a genuine student-athlete injured throughout college, didn’t play football again.

Harvard casualties symbolized by Holden, among campus football problems in continuum, emboldened faculty members to again demand the sport be abolished. But their second rebellion was quashed. A Harvard professor celebrated in print, evolutionist Nathaniel Shaler, declaring football “cultivates swift judgment, endurance, and self-confidence, without which even the naturally brave can never learn to meet danger.”

Casualty accounts dotted Yale news, naturally, with intense focus on this greatest team. Yale stories were overwhelmingly positive and typically glorified Camp—“the great football authority,” gushed The Philadelphia Inquirer—but he bristled at muckraking reporters, such nosy outsiders. “I am sadly aware that the present tendency is to depreciate all games and exercise, and frown on strength and courage as old-fashioned things,” Camp stated for friendly pressmen in 1886. “It takes a brave man to play football constantly, and I believe it is well to have some game where courage is needed.”

Camp always took credit for instilling theoretical benefits of football, character lessons for players, but he and Yale cohorts dodged responsibility for tangible casualties, according to a wealth of historical evidence in news, books, Camp personal papers and other collections. Yale culture maintained a rough edge, like many “manly” institutions of the 1880s. Students partied, brawled, wrestled and gambled—wagering on football games as a body. Upperclassmen gangs attacked freshmen on campus and in town, thrashing newcomers bloody in “cane rush,” stripping away clothing, sending victims to hospital. Yale tolerated select violence and casualty, contributing perhaps to the football program’s nonchalance about injuries, and standard no comment.

Yale football was a physical maw, grinding up its players and foes alike during 49 victories over 50 games from 1883 to 1888. Some seasons Yale allowed zero points while scoring hundreds. Yale players savored peerless winning but paid mightily, with newsmen reporting a spectrum of health problems on the team, including: TBI or “concussion,” bone fracture from skull to feet, eye injury, nose bleed, laceration of mouth and tongue, broken teeth, organ rupture, chest trauma, stretched and torn ligature and cartilage, hematoma, fever, pleurisy, pneumonia and more ailments. Yale officials said little, beyond disputing casualty data and football blame in newspapers. Conflicting information muddled two deaths among Yale football players of the 1880s.

John A. Palmer was a Yale practice player, aspiring for the “university eleven,” when he died of a brain hemorrhage in autumn 1885. Palmer hadn’t played football for 24 hours, minimally, but doctors said such “violent exercise” spurred cerebral bleeding in the left ventricle, discovered postmortem. A New Haven physician and Yale alumnus, Dr. William O. Ayres, also attended the autopsy. He concluded differently, saying football wasn’t involved with Palmer’s death. Ayres, a Yale med-school graduate prior to the Civil War, said a diseased kidney triggered the brain clot. Finally, a local inquest determined brain trauma was culprit, but the medical examiner blamed impromptu wrestling prior to Palmer’s collapse, not football, according to newspapers.

Yale athletic officials flatly denied culpability in the second fatality. George Watkinson was a promising, popular halfback and New Haven native whose death ignited anger in the Northeast. Watkinson and star Yale quarterback Harry Beecher had fallen gravely ill following the Thanksgiving game at Princeton, in driving cold rain. Watkinson didn’t recover, succumbing on Dec. 14, 1886. The New York Sun reported Watkinson had nursed injury prior to the frigid drenching “but continued to play, took cold, and died.” The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle opined American football had hit “a setback.”

Not so, countered Yale football players and supporters. Eugene L. Richards, math professor and father of Yale football stars, speculated the robust Watkinson arrived at Princeton already sick with malaria. “Professor Richards said [on Dec. 17] that so far as he knew, the visit to Princeton was not the direct or indirect cause of Watkinson’s death,” stated a release from New Haven. “The game ought not to be proscribed because of his death, as he probably had the germs of the disease in his system, which were only waiting a chance to break out.” Yale president Timothy Dwight declined comment on the matter.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle blasted lack of contrition at Yale and throughout IFA territory. Eagle editors fumed that “lunatics” staged the Princeton game in horrid weather, editorializing:

The death of that fine athlete of Yale, young Watkinson, teaches a lesson the Faculties of the universities of Harvard, Yale and Princeton should ponder well, and it is that the game of foot ball as now played in the Intercollegiate Association is unfit for collegians as a physical exercise calculated to build them up to withstand the mental pressure their collegiate studies subject them to. It is nothing more than a game in which low, vulgar wrestling and fighting have become the main feature. There is but one game of foot ball which college students should play, and that is the English Association game…

Soon after, Yale struck back at naysayer journalists and more perceived adversaries during an alumni function at Delmonico’s. “Yale Men Talk About Athletics and Abuse The Press,” headlined The New York Tribune. Professor Richards spoke along with Robert Corwin, who was the football captain, a future Yale dean, and future NCAA delegate. Corwin “praised [football] and bitterly resented attacks on it,” The Tribune reported. “He said that there were two kinds of football, one, the noble game, and the other the fanatical fabrication of the reporters’ imagination.”

Many writers agreed with Corwin and apparently at his Yale, where campus press supposedly squelched negative information about football. The Yale allegation was dropped by Alfred P. Dennis, managing editor of The Princetonian paper, where editorial staff included football players. Former Princeton president James McCosh once lamented publicly how that campus paper “was often given up” to football interests. He added, “I have asked the faculty to devise effective measures to avert these extremes. A committee has prepared a careful report on the subject.”

That didn’t work, based on subsequent remarks of the editor Dennis. Speaking at a collegiate press convention in Philadelphia, 1890, Dennis was frank in qualifying Princetonian journalism ethic as situational when it came to football. Notably, he said, casualties were ignored. The college editor’s speech was titled Suggestions as to the Eradication from the Public Mind of the Growing Sentiment Against the Game of Football.

“During the last three years there have been fully a score of men temporarily laid off the Princeton practicing elevens through injuries received on the football field,” Dennis said. “None of these men have received permanent injuries, and none are ready now to regret that they ever donned the canvas jacket. In rare instances legs and collar bones have been broken, but any mention of the same has been vigorously excluded from the college publications. The same thing may be said in regard to the Yale News. We never read in its pages an account of football injury, except, perhaps, the casual notice that some man is temporarily incapacitated for play on the eleven.”

“Princeton men go further than this in case of serious injury on the football field,” the editor continued, pointing to a wider network for effecting positive illusion. “The correspondents for the daily papers have received official instructions to let their ‘Yea be yea and their nay, nay,’ concerning the matter,” he said. “Correspondents have been officially sat upon for breaches in this direction, until only one or two remain in Princeton College, unto this day, who [report] ‘blood and thunder’ style.”

Dennis had advice for student writers in football, “two methods which contribute to still the tongues of the defamers of the sport. Along both general lines the college press can have a very powerful and salutary influence. The first thing… is the suppression of reports that would injure the game in the eyes of the public, and, secondly, there must be a constant and well defined effort to educate the public eye to see science in the game as well as the manifestations of brute force.”

Trend in public criticism of football was “unfortunate,” said the college editor. “In the last few years the game has largely vindicated itself in the eyes of the general public as an open, manly sport.”

V.  Late 1880s: Amoral Football and Serious Health Issues Are History, Say Educators, Theologians, Newsmen

In North Carolina of autumn 1888, student football teams organized quickly for intercollegiate games under IFA rules. A young Yankee educator, John F. Crowell, led tackle football’s campaign  in the southern state.  Football had been played on North Carolina campuses, different game versions, but American style flourished when Crowell arrived from Yale, taking over as president of Trinity College. Football fans were delighted, such as newspaper men in Raleigh.

“We are glad to see the game of foot-ball coming into popularity. It is one of the noblest of American games,” opined The Raleigh News and Observer, speculating “several thousand” would attend a Thanksgiving match between Trinity and Wake Forest. “Those who miss the game will regret it,” the paper declared.

President Crowell coached football at tiny Trinity. Additionally, as a former Yale sports writer and boxer, he penned football how-to stories and more promotion for Raleigh publications. “It is marvelous how this game transforms some slow-motioned and easy-going students into quick-sighted and ready, active athletes,” Crowell wrote, channeling Camp theory. “Nothing has done more than this interest in athletics to attach them to their College home. They will have strong, toughened bodies and good blood to bear up a mind.”

“As a rule the players can make the game a dangerous one or a safe one,” Crowell told readers in Camp mantra. Crowell, who played intramural football at Yale, instructed Carolinians:

No one is capable of judging this game until he has played in it. As a spectator he may consider it dangerous to the players. But it is dangerous only to the timid or the reckless, while to the one who plays either with a cool desperation or a furious energy there is no danger… Three years ago [football] was regarded as necessarily dangerous, but since then the feeling between the leading teams has improved and the temper of the game become milder… Every exhibition of pluck, whether foiled or not, should be acknowledged promptly by the lookers-on.

Despite Carolina papers’ pregame hype only 600 people saw Trinity defeat Chapel Hill, a small fraction compared to big games in New York.  Some reporters raved, anyway. “Long life to the game of foot-ball!” cheered The Charlotte Observer. “This was the first scientific game of foot-ball ever played in the State and was appreciated to the full extent by the good people of Raleigh,” chimed The News and Observer. The Raleigh paper decided YMCA football facilities were required at state university in Chapel Hill, like at Yale, and editors solicited a $10,000 public offering “to build and endow such a centre of spiritual life and light.”

Muscular Christianity was a football benefit, swore proponents. A player learned moral strength for conquering evil impulse and behavior, according to football stars of Yale and Princeton, waving their Bibles. The notion was hawked in pious North Carolina, where education—and thus football—lay in control of theologians, divinity scholars. Indeed, it was the Reverend John Crowell as president at Trinity College, endowed by Methodists.

But many religious folks were appalled at football. Criticism unfurled at a brawling Trinity player and for injuries in a contest at the state capital, where a compound leg fracture startled spectators. “The game is entirely too rough,” commented The Raleigh Christian Advocate. “One young man was badly hurt, another slightly hurt, and several were bruised up… we would advise those concerned to quit the match games of foot ball.” Legislative clerk D.B. Nicholson intoned that football was cruel and immoral, “behind our civilization,” in commentary for Weekly State Chronicle. “It promotes betting and breeds dissipation.”

Wake Forest’s pastor president, Reverend Charles E. Taylor, denounced football at his college and others. “These games, as actually played, are dangerous and verge upon brutality,” Taylor wrote for The Biblical Recorder in Raleigh. “Colleges have other purposes in view than those which are fostered by these contests.”

Players denied football caused serious injuries, and Trinity president Crowell continued fighting for the sport reviled by many Carolinians. The state Methodists convention eventually abolished Trinity football and Crowell resigned amidst acrimony, overshadowing his accomplishments in modernizing the curriculum and leading campus relocation into Durham—where the college would expand, becoming known as Duke University. In departing, Crowell ridiculed critics of football as dumb, cowardly people. And while Rev. Crowell hadn’t publicly espoused enrollment enhancement for organizing blood sport at the college—he always declared manly, moral education as his motive—he predicted Trinity would lose students without football.

Crowell fashioned himself a prophet without appreciation in North Carolina, and certainly football-boosting educators like him won accolades elsewhere. The religious institution was warming to tackle football in many regions, as theologians increasingly reached for the glittering possibility while praying against potential catastrophe.

The national publicity of Yale’s Christian athletes encouraged religious schools to adopt tackle football. “It is a somewhat remarkable fact that Yale’s most prominent athletes in latter years have also been her most devoted workers in the Y.M.C.A.,” The New York Sun observed in 1889. The paper claimed hundreds of student “carousers” at Yale had been converted to “Christian workers” under guidance of religious athletes, particularly Amos Alonzo Stagg, football All-American and baseball star. Stagg prayed openly before athletic contests, and The New York Times narrated how a fatherly Yale professor once mentored the young leader “to tell and show the boys that a student could be a Christian while engaged in athletics.”

Catholic priests embraced football at little Notre Dame College, just across the Indiana border from Chicago. Notre Dame’s new football team promptly claimed the bi-state “championship,” although local parishioners might’ve cringed over the divine manly casualties. Conventional medicine wouldn’t have sanctioned the “rough” game between Notre Dame and Northwestern in 1889. One news scribe reported a Notre Dame player was “seriously injured,” possibly to lose an eye, while another “had his jaw badly smashed.” But a different newsman wrote in the football perspective—also reflective of emerging sports medicine—that viewed injuries as generally harmless:

CHICAGO, Nov. 15—The Notre Dame (Ind.) university eleven played a game of football yesterday at Evanston with the Northwestern university eleven, and “did up” the Northwestern boys in great shape, winning by a score of 9 to 0. Nobody was badly hurt, but several of the players limped off the field in a very bunged-up condition. Capt. Hepburn, of the Notre Dame team, dropped a row of teeth and fractured his jaw in one of the first scrimmages. Another Notre Dame man had his head pushed into the ground, and retired minus a large patch of his face.

Many news writers explained football violence as deceptive, not nearly as dangerous as appearances. Scribes suggested poor eyesight for anyone who saw blood-letting, versus transcendent sport with an occasional accident. In Delaware, The Wilmington News Journal opined “there is something superbly brutal about it which compels admiration.”

A raucous Pennsylvania affair between prep academy and seminary produced a nose laceration, a kneecap dislocation and two TBI cases, reported The Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader—“But it was a great game of football.” The Wilkes-Barre Record added, “In fact the game was replete with brilliant rushes and fine tackles. Several claims of foul tackling were made but it is doubtful if they were intentional.”

At the University of Michigan, a student suffered lumbar damage and a severed earlobe during class scrimmaging that was “lots of fun just the same,” remarked The Detroit Free Press. In Washington, D.C., “Foot ball is really nothing like as dangerous as it looks if the two teams are in training and play the game as it ought to be played,” stated The Evening Star. “If the players are properly trained and know how to tackle and to fall when tackled, the danger is greatly lessened.”

John L. Sullivan was incredulous, iconic Boston pugilist reputedly violent in various settings. “John L.” charged America for seeing double, simultaneously adoring football while scorning prizefighting, his sport banned in most jurisdictions. “The dudes lay each other up playing football, and the women go out and watch ‘em pound each other,” Sullivan said after New York police shut down his boxing match. “It ain’t a square deal.”

The Oregonian articulated in the West, editorializing: “There is a great deal of nonsense about ‘physical culture’ and ‘scientific athletics.’ ” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle sneered at football in 1888, as it had for a decade editorially. Football constituted a “preposterous subject,” the paper termed, labeling young players naïve. “In after years when the pains of rheumatism become periodically sensible in disjointed limbs and when crutches lose their novelty, some of these young apostles of muscular Christianity may repent their early enthusiasm.”

Yet player groups and colleges dove into hosting collision football. Students organized teams at large universities in Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Nashville, Atlanta, Athens, New Orleans, Little Rock, Austin, St. Louis, Iowa City, Lawrence, Topeka, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and Salem, Ore. A college administration would either adopt a campus club or found the “university eleven” outright, pledging money, facilities and more support.

By end of the 1880s regional football loops were active far beyond the Northeast. Colleges competed against each other under IFA rules in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana-Illinois, and California. A western football league was gelling among universities in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

A public football mass grew within the sport, funded by taxpayers and students, more welfare sources. The public obviously subsidized teams at state colleges and for “government football” of West Point Academy, Naval Academy, Army and Navy posts, and Native American schools. That fostered dissent among lawmakers, military officers and parents, but public football also moved into high schools and grade schools, shepherded by male principals and teachers, to leech educational resources. High-school loops played collision football in the metro areas of New York City-New Jersey, D.C. and Virginia, Chicago, and San Francisco-Oakland. Football crimped public space and manpower for handling traffic, field security, parades, street celebrations and riots. Police departments were pressed, among entities of municipalities and states.

American football plowed forward in growth and popularity, but trouble overtook college rule-makers once again by 1888. Bloodshed was rising and The Oakland Tribune urged West Coast teams to drop IFA code, resume the Association kicking game. Across country, in Boston, The Courier declared: “The modern game of football is savage, and its brutality far exceeds any claim it may have to be considered ‘scientific.’ ” The New York Sun determined American football was unreasonably dangerous and should be banished from education unless a last-chance “reform” succeeded.

But the fresh IFA experts, led by Walter Camp, were running out of ideas. “Fewer than a dozen young men, all representing elite universities and relatively privileged classes, controlled the game during these crucial early years,” observed cultural historian Michael Oriard, in his 1994 analysis Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle. “The creators of American football seem to have had power but little control, as they revised the rules again and again.”

The measures of 1888 would stand as milestone, if not for safety success. Rule-makers finally sanctified offensive “blocking” for runners, which had been illicit but commonplace during 12 years of American code. Establishment of a line of scrimmage and elimination of the rugby scrum in 1880 had necessitated blocking in front of ball-carriers, rendering anti-rules obsolete and unenforceable ever since. The second significant change had been championed by Camp, a rule permitting “low tackling,” hitting a ball-carrier from waist down to knees—and ratified “with disastrous unforeseen consequences,” Oriard noted. Now it was easier to take down an elusive runner in open space. Lower tackling “virtually eliminated open-field running, led to increasingly brutal (and boring) mass play, altered the very shape of football players by tilting the advantage overwhelmingly toward sheer bulk, and necessitated the development of padded armor to protect the newly vulnerable players,” Oriard concluded a century later.

Many Americans didn’t view football as problematic in 1888, when 15,000 attended the Yale-Princeton game in New York. Some reporters carped at referee Camp and his umpire for their officiating debacle on Thanksgiving, failing to penalize head-butting between Penn and Wesleyan [see Part I, introduction]. But other scribes made no mention. The Philadelphia Inquirer informed readers that game had been “well played.” The popular press generally trusted the anointed football experts, once again, for so-called reform. The meta-narrative, once again, portrayed football hazards as diminished.

“Many of the rough features have been cast out and the rules have changed, improved and altered [play],” The New York Tribune opined. The Sun added: “Football is a beautiful game. It is a science. Too many people do not appreciate it because they see only the fighting, and the blood and mud-stained warriors. They ought to look on it as the real warfare of college men in times of peace.” The Pittsburgh Press quoted an anonymous player who said new rules meant “more precautions are taken to prevent accidents in football than in baseball.”

Official talking points of safer and beneficial football were galvanizing. Just two components remained to plant in public conscience and opinion: “proper” contact and “protective” equipment. Camp and fellow experts would tend the task.

VI. ‘Proper’ Tackling, ‘Protective’ Equipment Set The Rhetoric of Football Advocacy, 1889 Beyond

American football matured as national entertainment on Thanksgiving Day of 1889, with games staged coast to coast despite a prevailing pelt of rain and snow. Thousands collectively attended games in New York City, Syracuse, Elmira, Newport, Washington, Annapolis, Charlottesville, Richmond, Raleigh, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake and Los Angeles, among locales. Gate numbers ranged from a few hundred to the 25,000 paid in Manhattan for the college championship won by Princeton over Yale—the latter’s first defeat in five seasons. An estimated 5,000 were turned away at the gate, so many claimed vantage spots along bluffs overlooking the Polo Grounds. Telegraphic and telephoned news of the Princeton victory sparked celebrations as far west as Minneapolis, where happy fans wore orange-and-black in the streets and taverns.

Casualty accounts, including cases of severe brain injury and bone fracture, were obscured in voluminous football news of the holiday weekend. A 14-year-old boy died in New Jersey “from the effect of a kick while playing football,” per one sentence placed under “Brief Mention” in a newspaper. As if on cue out West, an opinion-page piece suggested a few must sacrifice for the larger good of glorious football, not to mention Anglo Saxon hegemony. The Los Angeles Herald editorialized:

Those were great “rushes made on the football fields [Thanksgiving]. … Some over-sensitive mammas will no doubt lie awake and bewail the disjecta membra of their boys, and these same mammas will suffer more from headache than the boys will from bruises. … It is much to be lamented that one or two of the brave fellows who made these “rushes” should perhaps be maimed or lamed for life. … There must be more or less vicarious suffering in the world, and the individual must take hard knocks in order that the race may work out its manifest destiny.

No one knew casualty rate in American football, whether small or substantial. But injury incidents spiked in newspaper coverage after the rule changes of 1888, for the content sampling of this investigator in 2016.

Regardless, the usual suspects, individuals mostly unidentified, were basically blamed for football carnage in 1889. “Football is a healthful and entertaining sport if properly conducted,” opined The Lawrence Daily Journal after Thanksgiving in the Midwest. “ The reports from all sections, of broken arms and limbs, and of scenes of ruffianism that would do discredit to a prize fight are due to the participation of ruffians in the sport.”

Later, the historian Oriard [1983], former Notre Dame and NFL player, argued that football’s popularity actually relied on risks and casualties to have captivated generations of Americans. “Football becomes contact ballet,” Oriard proposed of its thrilling athleticism in face of annihilation, writing for The New York Times. “Injuries are not aberrations in football, or even a regrettable byproduct. They are essential to the game.” Reform to dramatically curtail injuries was impossible from the beginning of American football, Oriard argued. “I cannot imagine that happening without a profound change in the entire culture. Rule makers are very conscious of what fans want.”

It’s logical to assume Walter Camp, 30, fully grasped injury factor and prevention obstacles for contact football in 1889—particularly regarding brain trauma and potential damage—for his résumé as player, coach, referee, rule-maker, football writer, consultant, and, by this time, a med-school dropout. Regarding TBI, Camp must have grasped tackle football’s dilemma and potential consequences both legal and ethical. Camp surely knew neural specialists had diagnosed “concussion of the brain” for decades, of varying severity—and, presumably, he was intelligent enough to know clinical evidence strongly indicated brain trauma could lead to permanent disorder. Brain disease of head blows had been publicized in criminal trials since the early century, proposed by defendants and doctors, with the term “traumatic insanity” becoming standard in the 1880s. In 1888 New York neurologists examined boxers for “swollen ear” indicator of brain disorder, with jarred-up football players mentioned as ripe for study. Camp had witnessed countless TBI cases on football fields since his playing days, and in Yale’s vicious intramural boxing he helped stage. But he didn’t publicly discuss TBI in context of football, implying to the public that little or no danger existed for players.

Camp likewise ignored head-butting of Yale and all teams, apparently long as he could. American football’s rampant head-ramming had always been classified illegal, a conflict culminating with Camp and fellow referees catching heat for hardly citing the butting violation. Camp’s IFA committee quietly edited code in 1889, removing the term “butting” from IFA rules thereafter. [Not until 1976 would unenforceable anti-butting rules reappear in football, promoted along with “heads up” contact by officials of the NCAA and National Federation of State High School Associations.]

Action beyond scrubbing language was needed in 1889, nevertheless, because head tackles were known lethal, including for killing a former Yale player at the University of California. So American football coaches emphasized “low tackling,” striking with a shoulder and eyes up, head out of harm’s way—seed theory for “head up” teaching and campaigns to begin in next decade. The technique produced dubious results that season, since real-time hitting often required ramming or leveraging with the head and neck. Butting was imperative in the head-on contact of scrimmage line, for instance, but football officials insisted headless forward-colliding could be taught.

Camp and even his wife, Alice, preached “low tackling” to Yale players, who were long reputed as the worst for butting. Yale captain A.A. Stagg, famed Muscular Christian and YMCA leader, commonly rammed foes, bleeding from the nose himself in multiple games, per news accounts. But he rigged a dummy bag for teaching proper technique in November 1889, suspending a mattress for team tackling practice.

Harvard captain Arthur Cumnock had his own “dummy rusher,” meanwhile, for tackling drill. Cumnock tried a tree log then suspended a heavy bag to strike low with a shoulder while keeping head aside. “A stripe is painted around the bag, and if the player embraces the dummy above this stripe he makes a foul tackle,” reported The New York Times.

The enterprising Cumnock also designed so-called protective equipment that evolved toward introduction of leather helmets within a few years. In 1889 Cumnock constructed a wire cage to cover a teammate’s broken nose at Harvard, where baseball players previously assembled a metal catcher’s mask to complement rubber teeth guards. But football officials forbade metal armor so Harvard’s captain produced “the improved Cumnock nose mask” made of rubber, also touted to protect teeth. Cumnock’s innovation charged the field of football headgear, hurling technology forward with validity or not.

Head-injured Yale players already wore caps in hope of protection, and a New York Sun columnist joked football “head-gear” should be engineered to withstand 300 pounds of pressure.  It was unclear whether the scribe seriously had in mind football’s ever-increasing player sizes, but large combatants were becoming common, topped by 300-pound behemoths at Dartmouth and Yale.

In retrospect, further signals of 1889 pointed to deep cracks in American football, complex issues to persist and long ring familiar. The blood sport drew followers from every vital institution; government was populated with fan politicians. Sons of President Garfield played college football along with those of powerful lawmakers, federal and state. Rising politician Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt—noted Harvard alumnus, football fan and Muscular Christian—was appointed to committee by the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Wesleyan professor Woodrow Wilson volunteered to coach football, and someday he’d follow Roosevelt as grid-fan president in the White House.  Macho football also counted loyalists throughout medicine, religion and the print press, along with foundation support of education.

College teams placed bounties on opposing players in 1889, targeting talented foes for injury and removal. Football players purchased insurance coverage for “accident” and death through the international carrier underwriting English rugby. A Chicago high-school team performed the “V trick” wedge to flatten opponents and excite fans, modeling “mass formation” of college heroes. Prep academies advertised tackle football and cultivated publicity as recruiting hotbeds, celebrating their students who reached college stardom. And many Princeton students skipped days of class after their team’s championship won in New York, partying their way back to campus.

There was talk of a premier Big Three league, Yale, Harvard and Princeton exclusively, sans the clinging batch of colleges struggling to resource football programs. Teams talked of securing trainers and sideline doctors, and players assured the public proper falling was scientific and safe. Trainers and doctors of employment promised medical checkups, and players were blamed for injury or malady. A team surgeon earned $10 an hour, double to quadruple the pay of university president. Colleges provided “training table” menu and housing to football players. Football facilities rose in construction privately endowed or not. Football’s amateurism ideal was exposed as farcical on campuses, including prestigious universities. Madison Square Garden hosted indoor football featuring college teams. And The Sun reported a professional “national football league” was conceptualized by A.G. Spalding, business associate of Camp.

Again, little concern was publicly expressed, American response to last when it came to football issues. The talking points of safer play and muscular morality sufficed for society, if not real results, and the parroted rhetoric would fly through controversy and “reform” to span centuries. Football closed 1889 with a flurry of positive publicity, depicting problems as basically gone then.

“Football has come to stay,” journalist Edward B. Phelps surmised. Phelps, Yale grad and future founder of American Underwriter journal, ranked football “American Next” as bedrock tradition. “The crowds of these games are getting bigger every year and there can be no question about the immediate future of the game.”

The Vermont Watchman opined: “Foot-ball is becoming more and more popular in the schools and colleges… It has won this recognition very largely through the efforts of men like Walter Camp of Yale to free it of the objectionable ‘slugging’ feature.”

And The New York Times: “So much has football been improved during the last dozen years that it is likely to hold its popularity. … This year’s amendments in the rules have also been in the direction of diminishing disputes on the field and increasing penalties for unfair conduct.”

The Pittsburgh Daily Post urged citizens and groups to fortify football in this capital of industry. “The organization of a city league of foot-ball teams will be a good thing for the game in Pittsburgh,” the paper editorialized at Christmas 1889. “Football will ever be popular, and its popularity will be added to by a league which has a regular schedule of games. There is plenty of talent in the city for such an organization, and it should be pushed to success.”

In September 1890, Walter Camp and A.G. Spalding Bros. released their new IFA rulebook. Editor Camp summarized his rule committee’s work as “years of careful and well-considered legislation… of captains and delegates from each college through a dozen years.” Camp cited “professionalism” as prime nemesis of college football and swiped at press critics for “ignorance.” Fortunately, he added, “adverse criticism [has] decreased until it has now almost disappeared.” Camp lauded American football’s rapid expansion through the education domain, where “nearly every school and college has a team.”

Editor Camp mentioned neither injuries in his rulebook introduction nor the apparently insolvable butting blows to head and neck. Instead he maintained that intelligent Americans knew football benefits outweighed the risks. “No game has shown such a remarkable vitality in the face of all opposition,” Camp remarked. “It has steadily increased the number of its supporters, and it has no deserters. Every convert becomes an eager advocate of its merits.”

This article is in memory of Li’l Girl, my loyal friend in writing and family life for 15 years. Our beloved herder dog helped this project from research to post. She saw it to the end. Peace, Girl.

Select References

The author stocks additional information in histories, medical literature and news texts,  among media, for this analysis. Also see ChaneysBlog news lines on Heads Up theory and football brain disease.

A Battle. (1886, Nov. 3). A battle of the kickers. New York Sun, p.7.

A Chicago Boy Hurt. (1885, Nov. 18). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

A Classic Cane Rush. (1886, Nov. 21). Saint Paul Globe, p.10

A College. (1876, Nov. 24). A college foot-ball association. New York Times, p.2.

A Coming Sport. (1889, Dec. 1). Pittsburgh Dispatch, p.6.

A Damper On Football. (1886, March 20). Oakland Tribune, p.2

A Fatal. (1878, April 5). A fatal foot-ball match. New York Times, p.3.

A Father [LTE]. (1875, March 25). Football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.7.

A Feast For Kings. (1889, April 8). New York Evening World, p.1

A Foot Ball League. (1889, Dec. 21). A foot ball league for next season. Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6.

A Foot-Ball Match. (1876, Dec. 1). A foot-ball match on the Athletic Grounds. New York Times, p.8.

A Football Accident. (1886, Oct. 25). Freeport Journal Standard IL, p.1

A Football Player [LTE]. (1875, March 25). Football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.7.

A French View. (1888, Sept. 14). A French view of foot ball. Hutchinson News KS, p.3.

A Game Of Football. (1889, Nov. 15). Sterling Daily Gazette IL, p.1.

A Game of Foot Ball. (1887, Nov. 22). Omaha Daily Bee, p.8

A Good Game. (1884, Nov. 25). New York Times, p.5.

A Great Game. (1889, Oct. 21). Wilkes-Barre Record PA, p.4.

A Great Game of Football. (1889, Oct. 20). Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader PA, p.4.

A Gymnasium. (1880, Jan. 18). A gymnasium needed at Ann Arbor, Detroit Free Press, p.13.

A Harvard Student. (1885, Nov. 12). A Harvard student fatally injured. Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.

A Huge Joke. (1887, Dec. 9). Harrisburg Telegraph [PA], p.2

A Lady Admirer. (1889, Nov. 9). A lady admirer of high kicking. Wilkes-Barre Evening News PA, p.4.

A Novel Advice. (1889, Nov. 10). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.14.

A Plea. (1860, Dec. 1). A plea for amusement and physical culture. Honolulu Polynesian, Hawaiian Islands, p.4.

A Plea. (1888, Feb. 22). A plea for the survival of the old Association rules. Oakland Tribune, p.7.

A Popular. (1888, Nov. 16). A popular out-door game. Washington Critic DC, p.2

A Pugilist’s Objection. (1887, Jan. 3). Frederick News MD, p.5.

A Recent Report. (1879, April 19). A recent report of the New York Board of Health. Raleigh News [NC], p.2.

A Rugby Boy [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.

A Sharp Correspondence [LTE]. (1870, Dec. 22). [No headline or byline] A sharp correspondence has been going on in the London papers…. Leavenworth Times [KS], p.3.

A Sound Conclusion. (1888, May 12). Morning Oregonian, p.4.

A Surgeon [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.

A Vermont Man. (1881, Dec. 3). [No headline or byline] A Vermont man dropped dead…. Winnsboro News and Herald [SC], p.2.

A Victim Of Football. (1885, Nov. 7). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.12.

A Victim To Football. (1886, Nov. 2). New York Times, p.1.

Affairs. (1888, Jan. 30). Affairs at Harvard College, New York Tribune, p.5.

Afraid. (1887, Dec. 12). Afraid of the rules. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.

Alexandria News. (1887, Nov. 30). Washington Critic DC, p.1.

All Sorts. (1879, Jan. 25). Parsons Weekly Sun KS, p.7.

Amateur Football. (1886, Sept. 30). Oakland Tribune, p.3.

Amherst Plays A Tie. (1891, Oct. 8). New York Sun, p.4.

Among The Colleges. (1889, Dec. 15). Philadelphia Times, p.8.

An Active Football Season. (1886, Sept. 6). New York Times, p.5.

An Eye-Witness [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.

An Old Rugbeian [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 30). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.8.

Annual Foot Ball Game. (1887, Oct. 17). Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.

Annual Picnic. (1879, May 13). Arkansas Democrat, p.4.

Arivaca Atoms. (1880, March 2). Tucson Daily Star, p.2.
Athletes Were The Lions. (1888, Feb. 22). New York Times, p.5.

Athletic Follies. (1884, March 20). St. Johnsbury Caledonia VT, p.1.

Athletic Sports At Yale. (1886, Oct. 3). New York Times, p.3.

Athletics. (1884, March 11). Athletics under a cloud. New York Tribune, p.1.

Athletics At Harvard. (1884, March 4). New York Times, p.2.

Athletics At Harvard. (1885, Feb. 25). Philadelphia Times, p.1.

Athletics At Princeton. (1886, Oct. 27). New York Times, p.7.

Atkins, J. (1893, Dec. 20). Aurelius, or Commodus. Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, p.3

Beaten By Lehigh. (1886, Nov. 19). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.

Because He Suffered. (1888, Feb. 17). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.5.

Beecher Keeps His Word. (1887, Nov. 11). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.16.

Behind The Age. (1883, March 15). New York Times, p.8.

Berkeley Items. (1881, Oct. 3). Oakland Tribune, p.3.

Big Ears Of Crazy Men. (1888, Oct. 25). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.7.

Big Kicking. (1888, Nov. 4). Big kicking by college boys. New York Tribune, p.5.

Blake, M.E. (1889, Dec. 18). A friendly word for foot ball. Boston Weekly Globe, p.4.

Boston’s Big Man. (1887, Nov. 19). Boston’s big man a feather weight. New York Evening World, p.4.

Brevities. (1879, Feb. 15). Nevada State Journal, p.3.

Brief News Items. (1883, Dec. 6). Richmond Dispatch, p.3.

Brief Locals. (1881, Nov. 24). Baltimore Sun, p.4.

Briefs. (1878, March 16). Hutchinson Herald KS, p.1.

Brown Alumni Dinner. (1884, March 15). New York Tribune, p.5.

Brutality In Sport. (1884, Dec. 2). Burlington Free Press VT, p.2.

Burning. (1889, Nov. 29). [No headline or byline] Burning the midnight oil… . Los Angeles Herald, p.2.

Busch’s Former Partner. (1888, April 25). Busch’s former partner at dancing. Chicago Daily Tribune, p.5.

Camp, W. [Ed.] (1890, June 2). Foot-Ball Rules and Referee’s Book, American Intercollegiate Association. A.G. Spalding & Bros.: Chicago, New York, Philadelphia.

Camp, W. (1891, Oct. 10). The best way to win. Indianapolis News, p.11.

Camp, W.C. [LTE]. (1884, Feb. 27). The new rules for college sports. New York Tribune, p.5.

Cambridge. (1875, Nov. 13). Boston Post, p.3

Canada. (1875, Oct. 24). New Orleans Times Picayune, p.12.

Carlisle Herald. (1886, Oct. 26). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.1.

Cause Of. (1860, Dec. 1). Cause of the Harvard College Trouble. Cincinnati Daily Press, p.1.

Chaney, M. (2009). Spiral of denial: Muscle doping in American football. Four Walls Publishing: Warrensburg MO.

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Chaney, M. (2014, Oct. 24). Cardiac death foils medical tracking in football, all sports. ChaneysBlog.com.

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Chaney, M. (2016, April 11). News line: ‘Heads Up’ football and policy, 1883-1936. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 11). ‘Heads Up’ theory, football helmets and brain disease, 1883-1962. ChaneysBlog.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, May 31). Teddy Roosevelt loved football, except when it brutalized his son. Sports.Vice.com.

Chaney, M. (2016, Nov. 29, 2016). “Slaughter of the innocents”: When D.C. considered banning high school football. Sports.Vice.com.

Changes. (1888, May 21). Changes in the college football rules. New York Tribune, p.5.

Chapel Hill, N.C. (1880, Nov. 20). Orange County Observer NC, p.3.

Checker-Board Foot-Ball. (1889, Dec. 15). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.20.

City And District. (1887, Nov. 26). Washington Evening Star, p.8.

City And District. (1889, Dec. 4). Washington Evening Star, p.8.

City And Suburban. (1886, Nov. 2). City and suburban news. New York Times, p.8.

City Items. (1881, Dec. 7). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.8.

Cis-Atlantic Matters. (1882, Nov. 10). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p. 2.

Club Against College. (1887, Nov. 23). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.5.

Clubbe, C.J.B. (1883, Jan. 13) Fatalities from football. British Medical Journal, 83 (1), p.1150.

Collegians At Football. (1879, Nov. 2). New York Sun, p.6.

Collegiate. (1889, Jan. 20). Atlanta Constitution, p.19.

Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1877, Nov. 9). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.3.

College Athletics. (1887, April 14). Baltimore Sun, p.6.

College Athletics. (1888, Dec. 23). New York Sun, p.12.

College Athletics. (1894, Feb. 27). Durham Globe NC, p.1.

College Athletics Sports. (1882, Nov. 4). New York Times, p.4.

College Baseball Prospects. (1883, Dec. 31). New York Tribune, p.3.

College Chit-Chat. (1886, Dec. 25). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

College Christians. (1888, Nov. 25). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.

College Clubs. (1884, March 4). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.

College Diversions. (1881, March 22). New York Times, p.4.

College Foot-Ball. (1882, Nov. 26). New York Times, p.9.

College Foot-Ball. (1883, Nov. 23). New York Times, p.5.

College Foot-Ball. (1883, Nov. 24). New York Times, p.1.

College Foot-Ball. (1888, Dec. 1). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

College Football Games. (1882, Nov. 26). New York Tribune, p.2.

College Football. (1886, Nov. 27). Hazleton Sentinel PA, p.1.

College Kickers. (1888, Nov. 4). Wilkes-Barre Leader PA, p.6.

College Life—No. 4. (1874, June 19). St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2

College Notes. (1881, Nov. 17). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3

College Notes. (1886, Jan. 11). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.

College Rows. (1880, Dec. 18). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

College Ruffianism. (1887, Oct. 5). New York Tribune, p.4.

College Sports. (1884, March 17). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.1.

Columbia Athletes. (1889, Dec. 20). New York Times, p.9.

Columbia Men. (1882, Nov. 26). Columbia men lost at Princeton. New York Tribune, p.2.

Cornell College Notes. (1886, April 30). Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette IA, p.4.

Cost Of College. (1885, Aug. 6). Cost of college athletics. Osage City Free Press KS, p.6.

Crimes And Casualties. (1877, Sept. 3). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3.

Crowell, J. F. (1888, Nov. 27). The American game of foot-ball. Raleigh News and Observer, p.1.

Crowell, J.F. (1887, Dec. 21). President Crowell’s annual report. Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, pp.4,6.

Crowell, J.F. (1939). Personal recollections of Trinity College, North Carolina, 1887-1894. Duke University Press: Durham, NC.

Current Events. (1874, June 4). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Current Events. (1885, Nov. 17). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Dangerous Athletics. (1883, Dec. 5). Des Moines Register, p.1.

Davis, P.H. (1911). Football: The American intercollegiate game. Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York.

Death. (1884, June 6). Death of a college athlete. Indianapolis News, p.4.

District Brevities. (1882, Nov. 27). Washington National Republican DC, p.4.

Dr. Dudley A. Sargent. (1884, Oct. 5). [No headline or byline] Dr. Dudley A. Sargent of the Harvard gymnasium says… . Chicago Daily Tribune, p.4.

Dr. M’Cosh. (1883, June 21). Dr. M’Cosh remains president. New York Sun, p.3.

Dr. Sargent. (1889, Dec. 1). Dr. Sargent on physical culture. New York Tribune, p.4.

Durham, S.J. [LTE]. (1888, Nov. 1). Foot ball. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.

Educating. (1888, Dec. 1). Educating the body. New York Times, p.5.

Educational. (1880, Nov. 13). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.11.

Educational Notes. (1886, June 10). Winston-Salem Western Sentinel, p.7.

Educational Notes. (1886,Oct. 16) Salem Statesman Journal OR, p.1.

English Journals. (1881, Jan. 6). [No headline or byline] English journals are paying great attention… . New York Times, p.4

Fair Play [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 30). Rugby football. London Times, p.8.

Fatal Accident. (1879, Oct. 3). Bloomington Pantagraph IL, p.4.

Fatal Football. (1883, May 2). Detroit Free Press, p.4.

Feeling At Yale. (1886, Dec. 17). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.8.

Fine Foot-Ball. (1884, Oct. 30). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.

Fined. (1859, Feb. 10). Louisville Daily Courier, p.1.

Foot Ball. (1870, Oct. 6). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3.

Foot Ball. (1872, Nov. 18). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Foot Ball. (1877, Nov. 28). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1877, Dec. 16). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1878, Feb. 16). Statesville American NC, p.1.

Foot Ball. (1878, Dec. 2). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.

Foot Ball. (1879, May 31). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.5.

Foot Ball. (1879, Nov. 23). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1880, May 12). Salt Lake City Herald, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1880, Oct. 14). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1880, Nov. 27).Wilkes-Barre Record PA, p.1.

Foot Ball. (1881, Oct. 30). Detroit Free Press, p.3.

Foot Ball. (1881, Dec. 12). Delaware County Times PA, p.3.

Foot Ball. (1883, Dec. 2). Football ball has descended to prize fighting. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Foot Ball. (1884, Nov. 7). Pittsburgh Post Gazette, p.8.

Foot Ball. (1884, Dec. 7). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Foot Ball. (1885, Oct. 12). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

Foot Ball. (1886, Dec. 5). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.1.

Foot Ball. (1887, De. 25). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.6.

Foot-Ball. (1864, Feb. 12). Cleveland Daily Leader, p.2

Foot-Ball. (1872, Nov. 17). Foot-ball: The inter-university match between Yale and Columbia. New York Times, p.1.

Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 16). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.2.

Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 21). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.12.

Foot-ball. (1876, Oct. 3). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.1.

Foot-Ball. (1877, De. 23). Boston Daily Globe, p.8.

Foot-Ball. (1882, Oct. 28). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.4.

Foot-Ball. (1885, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.11.

Foot-Ball (1886, June 20). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.5.

Foot-Ball. (1889, March 10). Los Angeles Times, p.7.

Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 6). [No headline or byline] Foot-ball is becoming more and more popular… . Vermont Watchman, p.4.

Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 28). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.

Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 28). Los Angeles Times, p.7.

Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 29). Richmond Times VA, p.4.

Foot Ball Club. (1883, Oct. 30). San Antonio Light TX, p.3.

Foot Ball Coming. (1888, Oct. 28). Foot ball coming to the front. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.

Foot Ball Is A Game. (1887, Nov. 21). [No headline or byline] Foot ball is a game that affords… . Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Foot Ball Rules. (1882, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.4.

Foot Ball Teams. (1889, March 21). Scotland Neck Commonwealth NC, p.2.

Foot-Ball At Cambridge. (1883, Oct. 14). New York Times, p.9.

Foot-Ball At Hoboken. (1879, Sept. 13). New York Times, p.8.

Foot-Ball At Princeton. (1884, Dec. 26). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.6.

Foot-Ball At Yale. (1872, Nov.28). New York Times, p.2.

Foot-Ball Club Organized. (1885, Nov. 15). Nashville Tennessean, p.1.

Foot-Ball Contests. (1887, Nov. 20). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.11.

Foot-Ball Etiquette. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Sun, p.6.

Foot-Ball Fighting. (1881, Nov. 21). New York Times, p.4.

Foot-Ball Is Hot Work. (1889, Nov. 19). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.

Foot-Ball Match. (1869, Nov. 18). Foot-ball match—Germantown Cricket Club vs. young America Cricket Club. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

Foot-Ball Match. (1869, Nov. 20). Foot-ball match between the Young America and Germantown cricket clubs. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.

Foot-Ball Well Started. (1887, Oct. 9). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

Football. (1882, Oct. 30). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

Football. (1884, Nov. 29). Football is great fun. New York Sun, p.1.

Football. (1884, Nov. 15). San Francisco Chronicle, p.6.

Football. (1886, Jan. 7). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.

Football. (1888, March 26). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.

Football. (1888, Sept. 4). New York Sun, p.5.

Football At Evanston. (1889, Nov. 14). Chicago Tribune, p.3.

Football At Harvard. (1885, Nov. 29). New York Times, p.10.

Football At Hoboken. (1882, Nov.12). New York Tribune, p.2.

Football At Lake View. (1889, Oct. 4). Chicago Tribune, p.3.

Football At Notre Dame. (1888, Dec. 7). Chicago Tribune, p.3.

Football Catching On. (1889, Dec. 10). Chicago Tribune, p.7.

Football Has The Call. (1889, Nov. 4). New York Evening World, p.3.

Football Here And There. (1889, Nov. 29). Pittston Evening Gazette PA, p.1.

Football In A Blizzard. (1889, Nov. 29). Indianapolis News, p.1.

Football Is Scientific. (1888, Dec. 23). New York Sun, p.11.

Football Justified. (1890, Dec. 28). Salt Lake Tribune, p.8.

Football News. (1887, Nov. 16). New York Sun, p.5.

Football Notes. (1889, Nov. 16). New York Sun, p.4.

Football Notes. (1889, Nov. 21). New York Sun, p.4.

Football Players. (1892, Nov. 27). New Orleans Times-Picayune, p.17.

Football Rules Changed. (1888,May 7). New York Times, p.1.

Foushee, H.A. (1889, March 22). One of the boys defends the scientific game. Raleigh Weekly State Chronicle NC, p.2.

From Head To Foot. (1883, Nov. 25). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.12.

From Mechanicsburg. (1877, Aug. 17). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.1.

From The Athletic Field. (1889, Oct. 29). Wilmington News Journal DE, p.1.

From The State Capital. (1883, Nov. 29). Baltimore Sun, p.4.

Fun, Fun! (1861, Oct. 31). Pittston Gazette PA, p.2

General News Items. (1888, Oct. 300. The Progressive Farmer NC, p.3.

General Sports. (1880, Nov. 15). Boston Globe, p.2.

General Sports. (1888, Nov. 18). Philadelphia Times, p.6.

Giles College Items. (1880, Oct. 28). Pulaski Citizen TN, p.3.

Gleanings. (1889, Nov. 24). Gleanings from the colleges. Philadelphia Times, p.7.

Good Points Of Foot Ball. (1888, Dec. 12). Pittsburgh Press, p.7.

Got $480. (1888, Dec. 5). Got $480 for seeing the football game. New York Sun, p.6.

Gov. Fowle. (1889, Feb. 15). Raleigh News & Observer, p.1.

Guarding The Young. (1887, May 17). Vicksburg Evening Post MS, p.2.

H.A. Garfield. (1883, Nov. 10). [No headline or byline] H.A. Garfield, the president’s son… . Leavenworth Times KS, p.2.

Harvard Athletes. (1886, Oct. 27). New York Times, p.1.

Harvard Beaten By Yale. (1886, Nov. 21). New York Times, p.9.

Harvard College. (1879, Sept. 5). Chicago Tribune, p.9.

Harvard Gymnasium. (1887, May 26). Hillsboro News-Herald OH, p.5.

Harvard Notes. (1881, Oct. 1). Boston Post, p.4.

Harvard Students Rejoice. (1886, Jan. 7). New York Times, p.1.

Harvard University. (1888, April 29). [No headline or byline] Harvard University has been thrown into a state of consternation. New York Sun, p.16.

Harvard Will Play Foot-Ball. (1886, Jan. 7). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.5.

Harvard Will Play Football. (1885, Oct. 8). New York Times, p.5.

Harvard Wins A Game. (1886, Nov. 26). New York Times, p.5.

Harvard Working Hours. (1879, Sept. 30). New York Times, p.5.

Harvard-Yale Football. (1888, Nov. 15). New York Times, p.1.

Harvard’s Athletic Contests. (1879, March 23). New York Times, p.1.

Harvard’s Coming Team. (1886, Sept. 19). New York Times, p.3.

Harvard’s Football Team. (1887, Oct. 27). New York Sun, p.5.

Harvard’s Hurrah. (1887, Nov. 13). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.1.

Harvard’s New Fall Term. (1886, Oct. 10. New York Times, p.14.

Harvard’s New Year. (1885, Oct. 2). New York Times, p.2.

Haskell Institute. (1887, Nov. 10). Haskell Institute items. Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.3.

High Kickers. (1887, Dec. 11). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.1.

Hopkins Academy. (1885, May 15). Hopkins Academy against the high school. Oakland Tribune, p.3.

How To Get Strong. (1879, June 26). Wyandott Herald KS, p.4.

Hurt At Football. (1886, March 12). San Francisco Chronicle, p.3.

Improving. (1887, Oct. 14). Improving a popular game. Des Moines Register, p.4.

In And Outdoor Sports. (1889, Dec. 30). New York Sun, p.6.

In Favor. (1887, Nov. 12). New York Evening World, p.1.

In The Domain Of Sports. (1886, Dec. 18). Chicago Tribune, p. 6.

Infantile Sports. (1841, May 25). New Orleans Picayune, p.2.

Injured. (1887, O)ct. 5). Injured in a cane rush. Pittston Evening Gazette PA, p. 1.

Inter Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1885, Nov. 1). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

Inter-Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1887, March 27). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

Intercollegiate Athletics. (1884, Sept. 5). New York Tribune, p.4.

Intercollegiate Football. (1885, Oct. 11). New York Sun, p.7.

Intercollegiate Football. (1887, Oct. 28). New York Times, p.2.

Interest In Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 30). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.4.

It Is Football Season. (1889, Sept. 9). New York Evening World, p.3.

It Is Insisted. (1888, Dec. 8). [No headline or byline] It is insisted in the East… . Saint Paul Globe, p.4.

It Is To Be Noted. (1877, Nov. 22). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

J. [LTE]. (1884, Dec. 1). Letters to the editor. New York Times, p.2.

James H. Campbell. (1887, April 18). [Advertisement] James H. Campbell Insurance. York Daily PA, p.2.

Jenkins, D. [LTE]. (1883, Dec. 11). Mailbox: Putting injuries in their place. New York Times, p.S2.

Johnston, A. (1887, October). The American Game of Football. The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 34 (6), pp.888-899.

Kicking As A Science. (1886, Oct. 11). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

Kicking Collegians. (1886, Nov. 7). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.19.

Kicking The Leather Egg. (1879, Nov. 28). New York Times, p.8.

Lake Forest Wins. (1889, Dec. 15). Lake Forest wins at foot-ball. Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

Last Of The Series. (1889, March 31). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.1.

Lawrence Letter. (1882, Oct. 12). Burlington Republican KS, p.1.

Lehigh Vs. Naval. (1889, Nov. 29). Lehigh vs. Naval Academy, Baltimore Sun, p.6.

Life At Fort Reno. (1885, Aug. 15). Lehighton Carbon Advocate PA, p.4.

Life At Princeton. (1878, April 6). New York Tribune, p.5.

Lively Rush At Yale. (1886, Sept. 26). New York Sun, p.9.

Local & General. (1883, March 27). Local & general items. Honolulu Evening Bulletin, Hawaiian Islands, p.2.

Local & General. (1883, May 23). Local & general items. Honolulu Evening Bulletin, Hawaiian Islands, p.2.

Local Brevities. (1881, June 4). Arkansas Democrat, p.1.

Local Brevities. (1888, Oct. 17). Arkansas Democrat, p.4.

Local Matters. (1889, March 13). Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, p.3.

Local News. (1878, Jan. 29). Idaho Semi-Weekly World, p.3.

Local Notes. (1888, Oct. 14). Palmyra Spectator MO, p.3.

Lots Of Fun Just The Same. (1886, Nov. 8). Detroit Free Press, p.2.

Lewis, G.M. (1965). The American intercollegiate football spectacle, 1869-1917. University of Maryland: College Park.

Mail Items. (1864, Sept. 14). Cleveland Daily Leader, p.1.

Manly Sports. (1889, March 14). Pittsboro Chatham Record NC, p.2.

Matters At Michigan. (1876, Dec. 10). Matters at Michigan University. Detroit Free Press, p.1.

McGehee, L. (1989, Aug. 15). Wofford and Furman made football history. Spartanburg Herald-Journal SC, p.5.

Medford. (1875, Oct. 28). Boston Post, p.3.

Men Of Mark. (1885, Oct. 17). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.4.

Men Of Muscle. (1889, Dec. 25). Los Angeles Times, p.7.

Miscellaneous. (1886, Dec. 26). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p.2.

Miscellany (1833, April 17). Salem People’s Press NC, p.1.

More Disgraceful Foot-Ball. (1887, Nov. 27). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.6.

Mr. Crimmins. (1883, oct. 220. Mr. Crimmins and the fathers help the Xavier Sodality kick football. New York Sun, p.3.

Mr. DePew. (1887, Feb. 26). Mr. Depew on Governor Hill. New York Tribune, p.4.

Mr. DePew. (1887, Oct. 31). Mr. Depew as missionary, New York Times, p.5.

Muscular Christianity. (1887, Nov. 1). Indianapolis News, p.2.

Muscular Education At Harvard. (1884, Oct. 7). Wilmington Morning News DE, p.4.

Muscular Morality. (1878, June 29). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

Nashville, Tenn. (1885, Nov. 27). Memphis Daily Appeal, p.1.

N.C. Conference. (1893, Dec. 12). Wilmington Morning Star NC, p.1.

Neighborhood Graphics. (1882, July 7). Kirksville Weekly Graphic MO, p.1.

Neither Side Satisfied. (1884, Nov. 29). New York Times, p.2.

New Haven, Conn. (1886, Nov. 11). New York Times, p.5.

New Jersey. (1869, Nov. 9). New York Times, p.8.

New Way of Stating It. (1885, Dec. 26). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.6.

News From The State Capital. (1889, March 11). Durham Tobacco Plant NC, p.4.

Nicholson, D.B. (1889, March 14). Pittsboro Chatham Record NC, p.2.

No More. (1883, Nov. 23). No more football at Harvard. New York Tribune, p.1.

Normal. (1881, April 15). Bloomington Pantagraph IL, p.3.

Normal Notes. (1883, Feb. 23). Kirksville Weekly Graphic MO, p.3.

Not Caused By Football. (1885, Nov. 12). Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.

Not Over-Study. (1886, Jan. 3). Not over-study after all. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p.1.

Notes From Yale. (1879, Nov. 4). New York Tribune, p.10.

Nothing To Nothing. (1878, Nov. 16). Philadelphia Times, p.1.

Now For The Fray. (1889, Nov. 28). New York Evening World, p.1.

Observer [LTE]. (1860, Nov. 2). The foot-ball nuisance. St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2.

Ohio Championship. (1889, Nov. 29). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.

On Defensive Play. (1891, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.12.

On The Football Field. (1889, Nov. 4). New York Sun, p.4.

Orange And Black Wins. (1888, Nov. 18). New York Times, p.3.

Organizing. (1880, Nov. 20). Organizing a foot ball club. Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, p.5.

Oriard, M. (1883, Nov. 20). Why football injuries remain a part of the game. New York Times, p. S2.

Oriard, M. (1883, Dec. 11). In Jenkins, D. [LTE]. Mailbox: Putting injuries in their place. New York Times, p.S2.

Oriard, M. (1994). Reading football: How the popular press created an American spectacle. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill.

Other Games. (1889, Nov. 29). New Orleans Times Picayune, p.7.

Our Common Schools. (1880, Oct. 2). New York Times, p.8.

Our Exchanges. (1889, March 18). Durham Tobacco Plant NC, p.2.

Our New York Letter. (1884, Nov. 29). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

Outdoor Amusements. (1880, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.4.

Outdoor Amusements. (1880, Nov. 20). Sacramento Record-Union CA, p.3.

People. (1887, May 4). Detroit Free Press, p.3.

People And Events. (1889, Nov. 23). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.4.

Personal And General. (1874, May 16). Rutland Daily Globe VT, p.1.

Personal Mention. (1885, Nov. 24). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.8.

Personals. (1884, Oct. 5). Chicago Tribune, p.4.

Phelps, E.B. (1889, Sept. 7). Football next. Lancaster Daily Intelligencer PA, p.6.

Phillips Vs. Adams. (1880, Nov. 15). Boston Globe, p.2.

Physical Culture. (1883, Feb. 18). Physical culture in colleges. New York Tribune, p.6.

Physical Culture. (1888, Dec. 5). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

Physical Exercise. (1890, Nov. 9). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.24.

Physical Training. (1883, March 25). Washington Post, p.4.

Playing At Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 19). New York Sun, p.5.

Playing Foot-Ball. (1888, Nov. 27). Nashville Tennessean, p.5.

Polo And Foot Ball. (1879, July 9). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.1.

Poser, M.S. (1947, Oct. 31). Football in the ’80s wild and woolly, featuring pulled whiskers, flying wedge, fancy kicking. Harvard Crimson.

President Adams. (1888, May 1). [No headline or byline] President Adams of Cornell University says… . New York Sun, p.4.

President McCosh. (1883, June 24). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Princeton And Harvard. (1879, Nov. 16). New York Times, p.5.

Princeton Loses At Last. (1887, Nov. 13). New York Times, p.2.

Princeton Outplays. (1885, Oct. 15). Princeton outplays Stevens Institute. New York Sun, p.3.

Progress Of Football. (1890, Nov. 22). Washington Evening Star DC,  p.10.

Qualifications. (1843, Oct. 13). Qualifications of a Whig candidate. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Questions. (1887, Oct. 16). Questions by Sun correspondents. New York Sun, p.9.

’Rah For Georgetown. (1889, Nov. 29). Washington Post, p.7.

’Rah For Princeton. (1889, Nov. 29). Saint Paul Globe, p.1.

’Rah For Yale? (1887, Nov. 25). Brooklyn Eagle, p.2.

Rebellion At Rugby. (1871, April 30). Nashville Tennessean, p.3.

Rees, S.G. [LTE]. (1875, March 24). Football. London Times, p.12.

Reform Necessary. (1889, Oct. 11). Burlington Free Press VT, p.7.

Religious Gleanings. (1888, Feb. 23). Wilkes-Barre News, p.2.

Religious Work. (1889, Dec. 29). Religious work at Yale. New York Sun, p.8.

Result. (1886, Dec. 11). Result of a football game. New York Times, p.1.

Reunion. (1856, Sept. 26). Reunion of “Old Woodward.” Cincinnati Enquirer, p.1.

Rough And Tumble Play. (1879, Nov. 23). New York Times, p.5.

Rough Foot-Ball Playing. (1889, Nov. 15). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.

Rough Games. (1885, Dec. 23). Fort Wayne Daily Gazette IN, p.3.

Rough Sport. (1882, Jan. 22). San Francisco Chronicle, p.8.

Rugbeiensis [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). London Times, p.6.

Rugby Directory. (1882, Jan. 14). Rugby Rugbeian TN, p.2.

Rugby Foot Ball. (1881, Nov. 25). Wilkes-Barre Daily Union Leader PA, p.2.

Rugby Rules. (1883, Nov. 30). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.5.

Rules Governing. (1882, Dec. 3). Rules governing the inter-collegiate games. Boston Daily Globe, p.6.

Sanitary Science. (1883, Nov. 15). Detroit Free Press, pp.1,3.

Saturday Chat. (1883, Dec. 1). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.4.

Senator Vance. (1888, Oct. 19). Senator Vance and an overwhelming crowd yesterday. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.

Several Surgeons. (1883, Nov. 7). Atlanta Constitution, p.4.

“Slugging” At Football. (1889, Nov. 8). New York Evening World, p.5.

Smith, R. A. (2011). Pay for play: A history of big-time college athletic reform. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago and Springfield.

Society Topics. (1889, Dec. 1). Society topics of the week. New York Times, p.12.

Some Sporting Gossip. (1889, Dec. 21). Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6.

Splendid In-Door Games. (1889, Jan. 20). New York Sun, p.2.

Sporting. (1885, Nov. 29). Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader, p.12.

Sporting. (1887, Dec. 31). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.10.

Sporting. (1888, Feb. 5). San Bernardino Daily Courier CA, p.8.

Sporting. (1888, Dec. 13). Pittsburgh Press, p.5.

Sporting Extra. (1889, Nov. 6). New York Evening World, p.1.

Sporting Matters. (1883, Nov. 22). Detroit Free Press, p.6.

Sporting News. (1874, April 10). Rutland Daily Globe VT, p.2.

Sporting News. (1878, Nov. 27). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.

Sporting News. (1879, May 16). Daily Milwaukee News, p.4.

Sporting Notes. (1884, March 5). Wilmington News Journal DE, p.4.

Sporting Notes. (1889, Sept. 7). Wilkes-Barre News, p.1.

Sporting Notes. (1889, Nov. 22). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.3.

Sport-Pastime Notes. (1886, Dec. 26). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.6.

Sports And Pastimes. (1876, Nov. 20). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.

Sports And Pastimes. (1882, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.

Sports And Pastimes. (1884, Dec. 7). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Sports In 1878. (1879, Jan. 10). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.

Sports In The Colleges. (1884, Sept. 5). New York Tribune, p.2.

Sportsman’s Stew. (1888, Jan. 22). Nashville Tennessean, p.9.

State Convention. (1889, March 23). Wilmington Morning Star NC, p.1.

State Intelligence. (1889, Nov. 28). Jackson County Banner IN, p.2.

State News. (1877, April 17). Hillsdale Standard MI, p.1.

State News. (1879, Oct. 10). Matton Gazette IL, p.1.

State Notes. (1882, May 24). Harrisburg Daily Independent PA, p.1.

St. Paul Boys Won. (1887, Nov. 8). Saint Paul Globe, p.4.

Stop That Ball! (1839, Dec. 9). Philadelphia Public Ledger, p.2.

Students Play Football. (1885, Oct. 11). New York Times, p.3.

Students’ Sports At Yale. (1886, Nov. 14). New York Times, p.3.

Suing For Big Estates. (1889, Aug. 17). Chicago Tribune, p.9.

Thanksgiving. (1889, Nov. 30). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.1.

Thanksgiving At Cornell. (1889, Dec. 2). New York Tribune, p.3.

Thanksgiving Day. (1889, Nov. 30). Newport Mercury RI, p.1.

Thanksgiving Kickers. (1889, Nov. 29). Detroit Free Press, p.8.

The Alumni At Their Dance. (1884, March 5). New York Times, p.1.

The Article. (1887, Oct. 19). [No headline or byline] The article on physical training… . Walnut Valley Times KS, p.3.

The Athletic Policy. (1885, June 10). The athletic policy of Dr. Sargent. Bangor Daily Whig and Courier ME, p.1.

The Battle Of The Ball. (1879, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.6.

The Body And The Soul. (1881, Nov. 14). New York Times, p.8.

The Boys Of Town. (1881, June 3). [No headline or byline] The boys of town are getting up a game of foot ball… . Jamestown Weekly Alert ND, p.1.

The Budget. (1881, May 13). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

The Chicago Times. (1889, Nov. 13). [No headline or byline] The Chicago Times, speaking of the intercollegiate convention… . Anaconda Standard MT, p.2.

The City In Brief. (1888, Feb. 4). Los Angeles Times, p.8.

The College World. (1886, May 23). Philadelphia Times, p.11.

The Commonwealth. (1881, Nov. 12). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.11.

The Cumnock Nose Mask. (1890, Nov. 2). New York Times, p.2.

The Cutlers. (1887, Dec. 16). The Cutlers are the champions. New York Times, p.8.

The Dangers Of Foot-Ball. (1887, Oct. 27). Waterloo Press IA, p.2.

The Deadly Game. (1876, April 3). The deadly game of football. New York Sun, p.3.

The Difference. (1889, Dec. 8). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.9.

The Draw Game. (1881, Nov. 26). Philadelphia Times, p.4.

The Eastern Papers. (1886, Dec. 4). [No headline or byline] The eastern papers are full of accounts… . Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.4.

The Elevation. (1883, June 22). The elevation of muscle. New York Times, p.4.

The Event In Football. (1888, Nov. 18). Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.

The First Victim. (1886, Oct. 1). The first victim of the season. Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.

The Foot Ball Season. (1880, Oct. 20). New York Sun, p.4.

The Foot-Ball Candidate. (1875, Jan. 23). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.

The Football Championship. (1882, Nov. 30). New York Tribune, p.2.

The Football Championship. (1887, Nov. 7). Indianapolis News, p.1.

The Football Match. (1888, Jan. 22). Atlanta Constitution, p.10.

The Football Season. (1882, Oct. 23). New York Tribune, p.2.

The Game By Bulletin. (1889, Nov. 16). New York Evening World, p.1.

The Gentle Game. (1884, Sept. 30). The gentle game of football. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.1.

The Great Rebellion. (1861, Oct. 17). New York Times, p.1.

The Hanover College. (1889, Nov. 18). [No headline or byline] The Hanover College foot ball team… . Columbus Republic IN, p.4.

The Harvard. (1884, Nov. 23). The Harvard badly beaten. New York Times, p.2.

The Harvard College Nine. (1885, April 24). New York Times, p.2.

The Harvard Football Teams. (1885, Dec. 16). New York Times, p.2.

The Harvard Men. (1883, Oct. 21). The Harvard men victorious. New York Times, p.7.

The Harvard Nine. (1885, Oct. 19). New York Times, p.5.

The National Game. (1885, April 24). Middlebury Register VT, p.3.

The Naval Cadet. (1889, Nov. 23). Baltimore Sun, p.9.

The New National Game. (1881, Nov. 23). Philadelphia Times, p.2.

The Old Game Of Football. (1878, March 4). London Belgravia, England, p.3.

The Pennsylvania Wins. (1888, Nov. 30). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.

The Perils Of Football. (1886, Oct. 25). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.2.

The Pic-Nic Party. (1858, May 20). Highland Weekly News OH, p.3.

The “Play.” (1889, Nov. 24). The “play” of the period. Detroit Free Press, p.4.

The Possibilities. (1889, Feb. 15). The possibilities of foot ball. Charlotte Observer, p.2.

The Rules. (1883, Nov. 23). The rules must be amended. New York Times, p.5.

The Rules Of Foot-Ball. (1881, Dec. 2). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.

The Season For Football. (1888, Nov. 11). New York Tribune, p.15.

The Seventh Annual. (1857, Dec. 1). New York Times, p.1.

The Seventh In The Rain. (1882, June 28). New York Tribune, p.5.

The Sporting Department. (1888, Feb. 22). New Orleans Times-Picayune, p.4.

The Surgeons Were Busy. (1887, Nov. 14). [No headline or byline] The surgeons were busy among the college football players… . New York Sun, p.4.

The Trinity. (1888, Dec. 7). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.4.

The University. (1878, Feb. 18). The university-practical instruction. Raleigh Observer NC, p.2.

The University. (1888, March 12). The university football association. Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.

The University Wins. (1889, Nov. 24). Philadelphia Times, p.3.

The ’Varsity Beaten. (1880, Nov. 8). Philadelphia Times, p.1.

The Y.M.C.A. (1889, Feb. 12). The Y.M.C.A. at Chapel Hill. Raleigh News & Observer, p.3.

The Yale. (1884, March 9). The Yale athletic meeting. New York Times, p.1.

The Yale-Princeton Game. (1886, Nov. 27). New York Sun, p.3.

To Make. (1882, May 5). To make football more interesting. New York Sun, p.3.

To Prohibit Football. (1884, Nov. 6). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

To Support. (1888, Oct. 4). To support football at Dartmouth. New York Tribune, p.1.

Too Much Football. (1884, Nov. 26). Columbus Republic IN, p.2.

Training For Head Or Feet? (1889, Dec. 12). St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2.

Trial. (1846, March 28). Trial of Charles E. Goodwin, for an assault with intent to kill concluded Howard District Court. Baltimore Sun, p.1.

Trial Of Spreckels. (1885, June 4). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.

Trinity Wins. (1888, Dec. 1). Raleigh News & Observer, p.1.

Triumphed O’er The Blue. (1889, Nov. 29). Chicago Inter Ocean, pp.1-2.

Trying. (1884, Oct. 5). Trying Princeton’s football team. New York Times, p.1.

Tyng, A.J. (1888, March 26). Base ball prospect. Fort Worth Daily Gazette TX, p.5.

Universities Win. (1888, Feb. 19). San Francisco Chronicle, p.11.

University. (1888, Nov. 5). University of Pennsylvania and Yale. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.

University Doings. (1887, Nov. 13). Philadelphia Times, p.11.

University Items. (1877, Sept. 26). Oakland Tribune, p.3.

University Items. (1883, Jan. 26). Oakland Tribune, p.2.

University Notes. (1882, Sept. 24). Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.1.

University Notes. (1886, March 9). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.

University Notes. (1886, March 16). San Francisco Chronicle, p.7.

University Notes. (1886, Dec. 9). Austin Weekly TX, p.7.

University Notes. (1889, Jan. 28). Salem Daily Capital Journal OR, p.4.

University Notes. (1889, Dec. 8). Saint Paul Globe, p.12.

University Topics. (1886, Nov. 4). Atlanta Constitution, p.2.

Various Topics. (1879, Nov. 2). Detroit Free Press, p.5.

Very Rough. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Sun, p.3.

Views Of Harvard. (1888, April 30). Views of Harvard athletics. New York Sun, p.3.

Wagenhurst, E.V. (1889, Nov. 10). The Foot-Ball Result. Philadelphia Times, p.16.

Walter Camp’s Opinion. (1889, Nov. 16). Walter Camp’s opinion of the football trouble. New York Sun, p.4.

Washburn College Budget. (1881, Dec. 10). Topeka Daily Commonwealth KS, p.1.

Washburn College Notes. (1886, Feb. 6). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.5.

Water Proof. (1845, April 11). [Advertisement] Water proof India rubber balls, Goodyear’s patent gum elastic. New York Tribune, p.4.

Wesleyan Comes Last. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Tribune, p.8

Wesleyan In The Rear. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Times, p.8.

Wesleyan University. (1889, Nov. 7). New York Times, p.20.

Weyand, A.M. (1926). American football: Its history and development. D. Appleton and Company: New York.

What We Are All Talking. (1889, Dec. 1). What we are all talking about. New York Sun, p.6.

Wills, W.H. [LTE]. (1881, Nov. 24). The noble game of foot-ball. New York Times, p.3.

With Saturday’s Meeting. (1889, Nov. 21). [No headline or byline] With Saturday’s meeting of the Princeton and Harvard elevens… . New York Times, p.4.

With The Colleges. (1889, Oct. 20). Philadelphia Times, p.16.

With The Collegians. (1889, Nov. 10). Philadelphia Times, p.7.

Woodbridge Grove. (1874, Aug. 13). Detroit Free Press, p.1.

Woodward, J. (1996). Taylor, Charles Elisha. In Powell, W.S. [Ed.]. Dictionary of North Carolina biography. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill.

Work At West Point. (1879, Nov. 7). Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.

Yale Again Victorious. (1883, Nov. 30). New York Times, p.8.

Yale Again Victorious. (1888, Nov. 25). New York Sun, p.13.

Yale Against Harvard. (1886, Nov. 20). New York Times, p.1.

Yale And Harvard. (1881, May 27). New York Times, p.4.

Yale And Wesleyan. (1882, Oct. 8). Yale and Wesleyan at football. New York Tribune, p.2.

Yale Beats Harvard. (1886, Nov. 21). Yale beats Harvard at football. New York Sun, p.1.

Yale College Gossip. (1881, Oct. 12). Chicago Tribune, p.3.

Yale Defeats Harvard. (1881, Nov. 13) New York Tribune, p.2.

Yale Defeats Columbia. (1882, Nov. 19). New York Times, p.2.

Yale Foot Ball Game. (1852, Oct. 18). New York Times, p.2.

Yale Outplays Harvard. (1887, Nov. 25). New York Times, p.1.

Yale Overtops Them All. (1889, Dec. 10). New York Sun, p.5.

Yale Vs. Harvard. (1890, Nov. 8). Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6

Yale Vs. Rutgers. (1887, Nov. 6). New York Sun, p.11

Yale Whitewashes. (1888, Nov. 4). Yale whitewashes the University of Pennsylvania team. New York Tribune, p.5.

Yale Wins. (1887, Nov. 24). New York Evening World, p.1.

Yale Wins. (1887, Nov. 25). Yale wins a glorious day. New York Sun, p.1.

Yale’s Athletic Team. (1884, Sept. 6). New York Times, p.1.

Yale’s Easy. (1880, Nov. 18). Yale’s easy victory at foot-ball. New York Times, p.5.

Yale’s Kickers This Year. (1887, Oct. 27). New York Sun, p.5.

Yale’s New Athletic Grounds. (1884, Sept. 25). New York Times, p.1.

Yesterday’s Foot Ball. (1889, Nov. 29). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.2.

Young Arthur. (1884, Oct. 12). [No headline or byline] Young Arthur, the president’s son… . Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.

Young Chicago. (1888, Oct. 27. Young Chicago vs. Old England. Chicago Tribune, p.8.

Young Men. (1888, Dec. 28). Young men of muscle. Baltimore Sun, p.4.

Copyright ©2016 for historical arrangement by Matthew L. Chaney

Matt Chaney is a writer, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Footballfrom his Four Walls Publishing in 2009Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email mattchaney@fourwallspublishing.com or visit the website for more information.